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OUR SEAMEN, 



AN APPEAL. 



BY 



SAMUEL PLIMSOLL, M.P. 



POPULAR EDITION. 



ii.VM 



AUG 05 1991 



^4!vmbr 




LONDON : 
VIRTUE & CO., 26, IVY LANE, 

PATERNOSTER ROW. 
1873. 



LONDON: 

PRINTKD BY VIRTUE AMD CO., 

CITY ROAD. 






IDebtcatett 

TO 

THE LADY, GRACIOUS AND KIND, 

WHO, SEEING A LABOURER WORKING IN THE RAIN, SENT 
HIM HER RUG TO WRAP ABOUT HIS SHOULDERS. 



PREFACE. 



"CVERYBODY knows that there is a great loss of life 
"'—' on our coasts annually, and nearly everybody 
deplores it. I am sure that if the English public equally 
knew how much of this loss is preventible, and the means 
of preventing it, no long time would elapse before means 
would be taken to secure this end. 

It is with the view of giving this information, so as to 
enable each person who reads these pages to pronounce 
with decision upon this question, that this pamphlet is 
submitted to the public. 

I have kept steadily in mind the idea of writing to an 
individual, as otherwise I should not have had the courage 
to address the public in what (from its length alone) looks 
like a book. As to a portion of it, I (perhaps naturally) 
shrink a good deal from submitting it to the public. It 
seemed, however, in writing it, and still seems to me, to 
give weight to my testimony on behalf of the working men. 
I apologise to any of my friends who may feel annoyed, 
and who would doubtless have aided me had they known 
of the straits to which I was brought in the earlier part of 
my life in London ; but I ask them to think what a gratid 
and glorious thing it will be if, by any sacrifice, we can put 
a stop to the dreadful and the shameful waste of precious 
human life which is now going on. 

I thank all those gentlemen in the east, in the west, in 
the north, in the south, and in London, who have so greatly 
assisted me for some years in my inquiries, but they would 



VI PREFACE, 

not thank me if I thanked them by name. They are, how- 
ever, one and all, longing to tell a Royal Commission all 
they have told to me — and more; for then they would 
speak under the protection of the law, whereas now they 
have to depend upon my discretion. 

I intended to treat the subject at greater length, de- 
scribing surveys for continuation, restoration, and some 
other matters, but, fearing to make my Appeal too long — 
when nobody would read it — I have curtailed it. 



NOTE TO THE PRESENT EDITION. 

This Edition has been prepared in answer to requests that 
have reached me from many parts of the country. It only 
remains for me gratefully to acknowledge the generous 
reception that has been accorded to my Appeal, and to 
record my confident belief that a man's greatest safeguard is 
publicity, so long as his purpose, and the means he uses to 
attain it, are single. 

As the note upon the first page indicates, in the Large 
Edition of this Appeal I reproduced in fac-simile, by means 
of photography, the various letters, official documents, &c., 
used in support of my argument. In this Edition all that is 
essential has been very carefully copied, and appears in 
smaller type. This will explain any occasional appearance 
of abruptness in the beginning or ending of a quotation : 
for instance, on page 2 the passage quoted forms two pages 
of a magazine ; the list referred to in the first line appeared 
on a previous page of that magazine. 

SAMUEL PLIMSOLL. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Preliminary i 

Underwriters . .12 

Sailors 36 

Ship-owners 38 

A Public Duty — not merely Parliament, not merely 

Government -42 

Precedents 43 

Sources of Disaster 57 

1. Undermanning. 

2. Bad stowage. 

3. Deck-loading. 

4. Deficient engine-power. 

5. Over-insurance. 

6. Defective construction. 

7. Improper lengthening. 

8. Overloading. 

9. Want of repair. 

Remedy 80 

Probable Results 82 

Objections 86 

1. Expense. 

2. Army of Surveyors. 

3. Sanction private institutions. 

4. Destroy responsibility. 

5. Dangerous precedent 

6. Opposition. 

Mutual Insurance Societies in 

What Course to take 113 

Appeal 114 

Conclusion 126 



OUR SEAMEN. 



T HAVE no idea of writing a book. I don't know how 
^ to do^ it, and fear I could not succeed if I tried ; the 
idea, therefore, is very formidable to me. 

I will suppose myself to be writing to an individual, and 
to be saying all I could think of to induce him to lend his 
utmost aid in remedying the great evil which we all deplore ; 
and I will write, so far as I can, just as I would speak to 
him if he were now sitting by my side. If he were so sitting, 
there are sundry papers I should like to show him in con- 
firmation of my statements and opinions, so that he might 
know for himself how absolutely true they are. 

I cannot quite do this in your case, but very nearly ; I can 
have them photographed,* and then you will see them as 
really and truly as if they were held to a glass and you were 
looking at their reflection in it. 

Now, there are many hundreds of lives lost annually by 
shipwreck, and as to the far greater part of them, they are 
lost from causes which are easily preventible. I may say 
further, that they would not be lost if the same care was 
taken of our sailors by the law as is taken of the rest of our 

♦ In the quarto edition of this book every piece of evidence was 
photographed from the original documents. In this cheaper edition 
these are given in smaller type, after a word-for-word comparison. 

B 



2 OUR SEAMEN, 

fellow-subjects. A great number of ships are regularly sent 
to sea in such a rotten and otherwise ill-provided state that 
they can only reach their destination through fine weather, 
and a large number are so oveiloaded that it is nearly impos- 
sible for them also to reach their destination if the voyage is 
at all rough. And I can show you that from these two 
causes alone (and they apply only to one portion of our 
merchant ships) rather more than a full half of our losses 
arise. 

As to the first of these statements, it would need no sup- 
port if you lived in a seaport town, for you would then know 
it from observation and common conversation; but I 
suppose you to be an inhabitant of one of our large 
inland towns (it being far more important to convince this 
population than that of the others, for reformation can 
only begin when our people inland are well informed on this 
subject). 

The statements in the following quotation are taken from 
" The Life-Boat '* for Nov. i, 1870, the journal of the Com- 
mittee of the National Life-Boat Institution, a body having 
ample information and knowledge, and not likely to make 
any statement without careful consideration (the italics are 
my own) : — 

[ A noticeable feature of this list is, that ships comparatively new are 
lost in greater proportion than those which are old. Thus we find 
that up to fourteen years 1,130 were lost, and from fifteen to thirty 
there were 750, while there were 341 old ships between thirty and fifty, 
and 87 very old ships, one of which was 94, and another nearly a 
hundred years old ! The last-named vessel was a collier, and it had 
seven persons on board when it was wrecked, one of whom only was 
saved. 

We have repeatedly^ through the medium of this youmal, strongly 
called attention to the terribly rotten state of many of the ships above 
twenty years old; in too many instances ^ on such vessels getting ashore ^ 
their crews perish before there is any possibility of getting out the life* 
boat from the shore to their help. 

From a Table giving the localities of the wrecks, we have compiled, 
on an admirable plan suggested by Henry Jeula, Esq., the Honorary 
Secretary of the Statistical Committee of Lloyd's, the following par- 
ticulars, giving the average percentage of the disasters according to the 
different parts of the coasts of the United Kingdom on which they 
happened :— 



PRELIMINARY. 



Paris of ike C oasis. 



Percentage. 



East Coast : Dungeness to Duncansby Head (inclusive) 

West Coast : Land's End to Mull of Cantyre (inclusive) . 

South Coast ; Dungeness to Land's End (exclusive) . 

Irish Coast 

North and West Coasts of Scotland, from the Mull of Cantjrre 
to Duncansby Head ; including the Northern Islands, 
Hebrides, Islay, Orkney, Shetland, &c. . . , 

Isle of Man, SciUy Islands, and Lundy Island 



56-30 

23-41 
lO'oS 

7*00 

1-84 
1-37 

ICO' 



As usual, the largest number of wrecks occurred on the east coast, 
although the loss of h'fe was not greatest there. The largest loss of 
life, during the ten years ending in 1869, was in th^ Irish Sea and on 
its coasts. 

Owing to the admirable and detailed manner in which the Register 
is worked out, we are enabled to denote the mode in which the different 
wrecks were rigged. Thus we find that of those which happened in 
1869, 98 were fitted as ships, 192 were steam vessels, 706 schooners, 
468 brigs, 327 barques, 265 brigantines, and 178 smacks, the remainder 
being mostly smaller craft, rigged in various ways. Schooners and 
brigs, as usual, furnish the greatest number of wrecks, that being the 
ordinary class of rig of our coasting vessels. 

The Table which distinguishes the wrecks in 1869, according to the 
force of the wind when they happened, is a highly instructive one. It 
is as follows : — 



Force of "Wind. 



Calm 

Light air. Just sufficient to give steerage way . 
Light breeze ) With which a ship with all M to 2 knots 
Gentle breeze > sail set and clean full, would | 3 to 4 knots 
Moderate breeze ) go in smooth water . . ( 5 to 6 knots 




Fresh gale * r'^'i 

Rfrnr^/c^oi. gomg free 



Triple reefs, &c. 
^ Close reefs and courses 



Strong gale ) 

Whole gale, in which she could just bear close-reefed main- 

topsafl and reefed foresail 
Storm. Under storm staysail 
Hurricane. Under bare poles 
Unknown 

Total 



Vessels. 



19 
28 

100 

30 
178 
220 
262 

77 

63 
700 

157 

39 
141 

100 
2,114 



OUR SEAMEN. 



This reveals the remarkable fact that no less than 177 wrecks hap- 
pened when the wind was either perfectly calm, or at most there was 
not more than a gentle breeze 'blowing, and that 660 vessels were lost 
in moderate, fresh, and strong breezes. 

We notice that of the 606 total wrecks during the past year on our 
shores, not counting collisions, 74 arose from defects in the ships or 
their equipments, such as imperfect charts, compasses, &c. — 45 of 
them, indeed, being caused by absolute unseaworthiness ; 80 occurred 
through the fault of those on board ; 71 parted their cables or dragged 
their anchors, and went on shore ; 57 were lost from the damage to 
hull or the loss of masts, yards, or sails; 119 foundered; 3 capsized; 
and the rest were wrecked in various other ways. 

It is a lamentable fact that, irrespective of collisions, 154 vessels 
should thus have been totally lost in one year — ^we fear, in too many in- 
stances through the shortcomings of man, attended, as these disasters 
too frequently were, with a deplorable loss of life. 

And, as regards those casualties, 1,047 in number, classed as ** partial 
losses other than collisions," it appears that 156 of them were caused 
by carelessness, and 72 by defects in the ships or their gear ; and, 
taking the record of the past ten years, we grieve to say that 3,249 
vessek were either totally or partially lost from such really preventible 
causes in that period ; and the loss of life in such cases must, of course, 
have been truly alarming. 

We moreover find that 571 vessels were wrecked last year that were 
imder the command of masters who held certificates of competency ; 
and that in 264 cases the masters held certificates of service ; while the 
large number of 1,135 were lost which were under the command of 
persons who were not legally compelled — as most assuredly they should 
have been — to possess such certificates of competency, besides 389 that 
had foreign masters not holding British certificates. In 235 cases it is 
not known whether or not the masters held certificates. 

On analysing the tonnage of the vessels lost last year, it proves to be 
as follows : — 



Vessels under 50 Tons 
51 and under 100 
loi „ 300 
301 „ 600 
601 ,, 900 
901 „ 1200 
1200 and upwards 
Unknown . 



>» 

a 
»» 
)» 



») 



>» 



Vessels. 
462 
016 
996 

n 
49 

25 

2 



Total 



2,594 



As respects cargoes, it seems that 691 were ladeo colliers, 183 colliers 
in ballast, 139 vessels having metallic ore on board, 187 with stone 
ores, &c., 153 were fishing-smacks, and 1,241 were ships with other 
cargoes or in ballast. 

As usual, the ships of the collier class employed in the regular 
canying trade have suffered severely; they numbered 1,200, or about 
half'^the whole body of ships to which accidents happened during the 
year. Thus it is, in a great measure, that so many casualties occur on 



PRELIMINAR Y. 5 

our coasts, yj>r such is the notoriously ill-found and unseaworthy man" 
ner in which these vessels are sent on their voyages^ that in every gale-^ 
even if it be one of a moderate character only — it becomes a certainty 
that numbers of them will be destroyed, as will be seen from the fcu:t 
that 844 of them were lost in 1864; 935 in 1865; I»I50 in 1866; 1,215 
in 1867 ; 1,014 in 1868 ; and i,2O0 in 1869 — or 6,357 in six years. 

It is overwhelming to contemplate the loss of life from, these, in too 
many instances, avoidable wrecks. 

Turning now to the cases of collisions at sea off our coasts, which are 
often of a very distressing character, the number reported last year, as 
we have before observed, is 461 ; and of these 148 occurred in the day- 
time, and 313 at night. The numbers given for the year 1868 were 99 
in the day and 280 in the night. Those for 1869, again, give 90 as 
total and 371 as partial wrecks; and of the total wrecks no less than 
29 happened from bad look-out, 16 from want of proper observance of 
the steering and sailing rules, 8 from thick and foggy weather, and 37 
from other causes. 

Of the partial losses through collision, 66 were from bad look-out, 53 
were from neglect or misapplication of steering and sailing rules, 23 
from want of seamanship, 33 from general negligence and want of 
caution, 11 from neglecting to show proper light, and 185 from various 
other causes. 

The nature of the collisions is thus described: — 17 occurred between 
steamers, and 193 between sailing-vessels while both were under way ; 
76 collisions also happened between sailing-vessels, one being at 
anchor and the other under way; 66 between steamers and sailing- 
vessels, both being under way; and only 13 were caused by steamers 
running into sailing-vessels at anchor ; 4 by sailing-vessels under way 
running into steamers at anchor ; and none by one steamer coming into 
collision with another at anchor ; 92 collisions also occurred through 
vessels breaking from their anchors or moorings. ] 



The next statement is made by no less an authority than 
the Government itself, for the Tables on pp. 6 — 11 are 
part of the Annual Report of the Board of Trade, and 
I beg your attention to the words which I have printed 
in italics : — 



[ Of the 841 casualties, — i.e., partial losses from causes other than 
collisions, — ^487 happened when Uie wind was at force 9 or upwards (a 
strong gale), and are included as having been caused by stress of 
weather ; 123 arose from carelessness ; 82 from defects in the ship or 
her equipments ; and the remainder appear to have arisen from vanous 
other causes. 
This is shown in the following short Table : — 



OUR SEAMEN. 



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The total number of ships which, according to the facts reported, 
appear to have foundered or to have been otherwise totally lost on our 
coasts from unseaworthiness, unsound gear, &c. (Class 3), in the last 
ten years, is 482 ; and the number of casualties arising from the same 
causes, during the same period, and resulting in partial damage, is 531. 

In 1868 there were 131 wrecks and casu£dties to smacks and other 
fishing-vessels. Excluding these 131 fishing-vessels, it will be seen 
that the number of vessels employed in the regular can-ying trade that 
have suffered from wreck or casualty during the year is 2, coo. If this 
number is again subdivided it will be found that about half of it is 
represented by the unseaworthy, overladeUf or ill-found vessels of the 



PRELIMINARY, ^ 

collier class chiefly employed in the coasting trade. For the six years 
ending 1868 the number is more than half. This will he more readily 
apparent by the following short Table : — 



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8 OUR SEAMEN. 

From Table 4 it will be seen that in the ten years ended 1868 
disasters to comparatively new ships bear a very high proportion to the 
whole number ; that 176 wrecks and casualties happened to nearly new 
ships, and 297 to ships from three to seven years of age. Then there 
are wrecks and casualties to 420 ships from seven to ia years old, and 
to 653 from 15 to 30 years old. Then follow 267 old ships from 30 to 
50 years old. Having passed the service of half a century we come to 
the very old ships, viz., 35 between 50 and 60 years old, 28 from 60 to 
70, 9 from 70 to 80 ] 

[ The total number of ships which, according to the facts reported, 
appear to have foundered or to have been otherwise totally lost on and 
near the coasts of the United Kingdom from unseaworthiness, unsound 
gear. Sec. (Class 3 of preceding Table), in the last ten years, is 524 ; and 
Qie number of casualties arising from the same causes, during the same 
j>eriod, and resulting in partial damage, is 655. 

Jn 187 1, there were on and near the coasts of the United Kingdom 
120 wrecks and casualties to smacks and other fishing-vessels. Ex- 
cluding these 120 fishing-vessels, it will be seen that the number of 
vessels employed in the regular carrying trade that have suffered from 
wreck or casualty here during the year is 1,807. V ^^"' ^^^^^ ^ 
again subdivided it will be found that nearly half of it is represented 
In' vessels of the collier ctass, chiefly employed in the coasting trade, 
ror the seven years ending 187 1 the number is more than half This 
will be more readily seen from the Table on following page (page 9). 

From Table 4 in the Abstract it will be seen that in the ten years 
ended 1871, disasters on and near the coasts of the United Kingdom 
to comparatively new ships bear a very high proportion to the whole 
number; and that during the year 187 1, 155 wrecks and casualties 
happened to nearly new ships, and 302 to ships from three to seven 
years of age. Then there are wrecks and casualties to 361 ships from 
seven to 14 years old, and to 554 from 15 to 30 years old. Then 
follow 26J old ships from 30 to 50 years old. Having passed the 
service of half a century we come to the very old ships, viz., 44 between 
50 and 60 years old, 19 from 60 to 70, 6 from 70 to 80, 8 from 80 to 90, 
and 3 upwards of 100. The ages of 210 are unknown. 

Of the 1,927 vessels lost or damaged on and near the coasts of the 
United Kingdom in 1871, 84 were rigged as ships, 223 were steam- 
ships, 493 schooners, 282 brigs, 232 barques, 219 brigantines, and 103 
smacks ; the remainder were small vessels rigged in various ways. Of 
the 1,927 vessels referred to, 806 did not exceed 100 tons burden ; 687 
were from 100 to 300 tons, 279 were from 300 to 600 tons, and 155 
only were above 600 tons burden. 

From Table 8, showing the parts of the coasts on which the wrecks 
and casualties on and near the coasts of the United Kingdom hap- 
pened, it will be seen that, as usual, the greatest number occurred on 
the East coast. The numbers are as follow : — 



East Coast 793 

South Coast 201 

West Coast 397 

N, and W. Coast of Ireland .... 32 



PRELIMINAR V. 










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OUR SEAMEN. 



Irish Coast 125 

Isle of Man 12 

Lundy Island 5 

Scilly Isles • 10 

The winds appear from the wreck reports to have been destructive 
to shipping on and near the coasts of the United Kingdom during the 
ten years ended 187 1, in the proportions following : — 



Direction. 


Wrecks, etc., in 


Total. 


1862. 


1863. 


1864. 


1865. 


1866. 


1867. 


1868. 


1869. 


1870. 


1871. 


N.. . 
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N.E. . 
E.N.E. 
E.. 

£«0.£a • 

S.E. . 

S. . 
S.S.W. 

s.w. . 
w.s.w. 
w. 

W.N.W. 

N.W. . 
N.N.W. 


65 

45 

51 

44 
29 

t 

139 
194 
140 

89 

75 
no 

62 


46 
31 
30 

26 

27 

36 

76 

159 

147 

137 
209 

214 
94 


26 
56 

92 

P 

61 
95 

92 

77 
70 
21 


61 

59 

9° 
58 

56 

97 
60 

94 
133 
192 
102 

73 
91 

lOI 

59 


38 
97 

69 

4X 
90 

69 

129 

206 

174 
X05 

lOI 

"5 

45 


Z16 
153 

% 

107 
164 

61 

i8z 
Z02 
103 

126 
80 


% 

iS 
223 
144 
120 
108 
116 

55 


109 

'J* 
z6i 

74 
57 
41 

% 

"3 
126 
221 

135 
116 

134 
149 

131 


53 

84 
77 

145 
92 

8x 
83 
31 


45 
50 

71 
6z 
70 

89 
111 

86 
102 

169 
95 

69 
79 
23 


624 
857 

627 >4,705 
575 

619J 

826 
i,i8o1 
1,832 

1,212 

1,023 >8,048 
1,037 
1,163 
601 J 


1,253 


1,358 


1,137 


1,381 


1,565 


1,756 


1,459 


1,782 


1,193 


1,319 


14,203 



The above Table shows that westerly winds are far more destructive 
than easterly winds, — the most destructive being from south-west It 
should, however, be remembered that westerly winds are far more 
common than easterly winds. 

It will be seen from Table 10, distinguishing the wrecks, &c., on 
and near the coasts of the United Kingdom according to the force of 
the wind at the time at which they happened, that in 187 1, 856* 
happened when the wind was tit force 6 or under, that is to say, when 
the force of the wind did not exceed a strong breeze, in which the ship 
cotUd carry single reefs and topgallant sails; that \\^' happened with 
the wind at forces y or S, or a moderate to fresh gale, when a ship, if 
properly found, manned, and navigated, can keep the sea with safety; 
ana that 528 happened with the wmd at force 9 and upwards, that is 
to say, from a strong gale to a hurricane. In other words, 856 hap- 
pened when the wind was such that a ship could cany her topgallant 
sails ; 149 when a ship ought to be well able to hold her course ; and 
528 with the wind at and above a strong gale. 

The nimibers for the last ten years are shown in the following 
Table :— 



♦ Look at this. — S. P. 



PRELIMINARY, 



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12 OUR SEAMEN, 

Underwriters, — Perhaps you may say (as many besides 
have said), " But are not nearly all these ships, and their 
cargoes too, insured ? and is it to be supposed that the In- 
surance Companies " (if you lived in a seaport you would 
probably say " underwriters," but the general notion is as 
you put it) — "is it to be supposed that the Insurance 
people would not see to it, if they were thus plundered ; and 
may we not safely rely upon their self-interest to rectify any 
wrong-doing in this respect ? " 

Nor would you be alone in thinking something like this, 
for a gentleman high in office and in influence at the Board 
of Trade is reported, in the Journal of the Society of Arts, to 
have said in one of their meetings, " Let ships be lost, and 
let cargoes be lost, so long as underwriters are too sordid 
or too lazy to refuse payment of doubtful and fraudulent 
cases." 

Now, as this gentleman, had he been better informed, 
could long ago have influenced his chiefs to have legis- 
lated effectively in remedy of the existing state of things, 
and as there is too much reason to fear that a similar 
feeling has possessed the public, with the eff'ect of stifling 
any reviving sense of duty in the matter, you will agree 
with me that it is of the utmost consequence to spare no 
pains (if it is a mistake) to show how it is so. The 
idea is that if a ship has been culpably and shamefully 
overloaded, or if a ship utterly unfit to go to sea has 
been sent out to sea insured for as much money as would 
build a new one, and so bring a positive gain to her 
owner by her being wrecked, that the Insurance people 
ought to prove this, and, if they did not bring the guilty 
to punishment, at least prevent them from making a profit 
by their wrong-doing. 

Now, I want to convince you that this idea is utterly 
erroneous, and that it would be more reasonable to expect 
the first person you meet, whether merchant, manufacturer, 
clergyman, banker, or shopkeeper, to institute inquiry into a 
fatally fraudulent case of this nature, than to ask the under- 



UNDER WRITERS. 13 

writer ; because they could act without incurring odious mis- 
representation or loss of business, whilst tfuse could only do 
so at the cost of great suspicion and total loss of future 
business. 

The underwriters cannot move in the matter, — first, be- 
cause the loss to each individual underwriter is too small to 
make it worth his time and trouble. The popular inland idea 
of insurance is, that of an individual insuring himself against 
loss by insuring his house, warehouse, or factory from fire 
with an insurance company : in the event of the property 
being destroyed by fire, the company have to pay to him the 
amomit insured by them. They are strong enough to pro- 
tect themselves, if the insurer has violated the terms of his 
policy by carelessly* exposing the property to unfair risk of 
fire, or in the rare case of his having purposely fired it ; but 
the circumstances are entirely different in insuring a ship or 
a cargo. In the latter case, the owner of a ship or freight 
who wishes to insure applies to an insurance broker, with 
whom terms are arranged, but only provisionally ; the 
broker informs him on what terms of premium the under- 
writers are hkely to take the risk. If they agree as to 
what terms will be accepted by the owner or freighter, 
in the event of the broker succeeding in placing the risk 
on those terms, the broker- then writes out a slip like this — 

[ B. M. & Co. 9 Sept, 1869. 

^ Co, 

jf 5,500 on Hull and Machinery, avge. value ;f 15,000. 

Sunshine (s.s.) 

Clyde Hong-Kong 

70J. and 30 days. 

Including trial trip and adjusting compasses at Gareloch. 

[Here follow Signatures of Underwriters,'] 
n^ I. 600 tons. To sail about . ] 



14 OUR SEAMEN. 

— and sends a clerk with it into Lloyd's underwriters* room. 
This is an exceedingly large apartment, or rather series of 
apartments, down each of which run four rows of tables 
like those in an old-fashioned hotel coffee-room, — one row 
against each wall, and a double row down the middle ; tiius 
two side aisles give access, right and left, to two rows of 
tables. Each table is ceiled off from its neighbour by a 
partition about five feet high, so as to secure a certain 
degree of privacy, and each table accommodates four gen- 
tlemen. To enable a gentleman or firm to engage in the 
business of an underwriter, he must satisfy the committee 
which manages the room (usually by a considerable de- 
posit, formerly ;^ 10,000, now, I believe, ;^5,ooo) that he 
is a person of adequate means to incur the risks of the 
business. 

In this case the person applying to the broker wishes to 
insure the steamship Sunshine for ;£^5,5oo, for a voyage 
from the Clyde to Hong-Kong, and he and the firm of 
brokers consider that 70^". per ;^ioo is an adequate pre- 
mium for the risk, and these particulars, and the date of 
the transaction and the name of the firm, are all noted on 
the slip, above the double line I have drawn across it. 
This slip is then sent into the room by the hand of one of 
his clerks. The clerk goes from table to table, and submits 
his slip to first one, and then another; some decline it, 
others append their initials as accepting, and write also, or 
the clerk does, the amounts which they are willing to 
insure. The broker himself insures nothing ; his profit con- 
sists in deducting from the premium which he receives 
from the ship-owner or freighter, to hand over in the several 
proportions to the underwriters, a commission amounting 
to 1 5 per cent, on the several amounts, 5 per cent, of which 
he keeps, and 10 per cent, he returns to his employer in 
the matter. The particulars of the slip are then formally 
set forth in a policy of insurance, and each of the persons 
who have agreed to insure then formally subscribe or 
underwrite the body of the policy (hence the term " under- 



. UNDERWRITERS. 15 

writers"), and receives from the broker 3j^ per cent, on the 
respective amounts they had thus guaranteed to the owners 
of the ship in the event of her being lost. 

In case of loss, the broker then applies to each of the 
gentlemen who have signed the policy for the respective 
sums they have each guaranteed, and the transaction is 
complete ; or the transaction is also completed by the safe 
arrival at Hong-Kong of the ship. 

The next extract shows the policy, which was filled up 
from the slip already shown. In this case the whole of the 
sum insured is ^^5,500, and the risk is divided amongst 
forty-five subscribers (underwriters), not one of whom loses 
more than ;£^i5o, while twenty-five only lose £,\oo each, in 
the event of the loss of the ship : — 

[ Be it known that dr» Co,y 

S. G. as well in their ♦own Name, as for and in 

the Name and Names of all and every other 

~ ' Person or Persons to whom the same doth, 

^55*^ may, or shall appertain, in part or in all, 

===^== doth make assm-ance and cause themselves 

■n^liverf^d the Hav ^^^ ^^"^ ^°*^ ^^^^ °^ *^^™' *° ^^ insured, 

ueiiyerea tne aay ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ j^g^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^_ 

Kong, and for and during the space of 30 
j^^^ \ consecutive days after arrival, with leave to 

take trial trip and to proceed to Gareloch 
to adjust compasses, and to call at all and 
any ports or places on the voyage for all and any purposes, 
upon any Kind of Goods and Merchandises, and ^so upon 
the Body, Tackle, Apparel, Ordnance, Munition, Artillery, 
Boat and other Furniture, of and in the good Ship or Vessel 
called the Sunshine (j.j.), whereof is Master, under God, for 
this present Voyage , 

or whosoever else shall go for Master in the said Ship, or by 
whatsoever other Name or Names the same Ship, or the Master 
thereof, is or shall be named or called, beginning the Adven- 
ture upon the said Goods and Merchandise from the loading 
thereof aboard the said Ship 

upon the said Ship, &c. 

and shall so continue and endure, during her Abode there, 
upon the said Ship, &c. ; and further, until the said Ship, 
with all her Ordnance, Tackle, Apparel, &c., and Goods 

♦ The words in italics represent the MS. portions of the Policy. 



i6 OUR SEAMEN. 

and Merchandise whatsoever, shall be arrived at \as ahove^ 

upon the said Ship, &c., until she hath moored at Anchor 
Twenty-four Hours in good Safety, and upon the Goods and 
Merchandises until the same be there discharged and safely 
landed ; and it shall be lawful for the said Ship, &c., in this 
Voyage to proceed and Sail to and touch and stay at any 
Ports or Places whatsoever aruL wheresoever, and without 
Prejudice to this Insurance. The said Ship, &c.. Goods and 
Merchandise, &c., for so much as concerns the Assured, by 
Agreement between the Assured and Assurers in this Policy, 
are and shall be valued at ;f 5,500 on Hull and Machinery, 
&c., valued ;f 15,000 average, payable on each value or lien 
separately over the whole general average, as per foreign 
statement, if so made up, including the collision clause, as 
attached. Touching the Adventures and Perils which we, the 
Assurers, are contented to bear and do take upon us in this 
Voyage, they are, of the Seas, Men-of-War, Fire, Enemies, 
Pirates, Rovers, Thieves, Jettisons, Letters of Mart and 
Countermart, Surprisals, Takings at Sea, Arrests, Restraints 
and Detainments of all Kings, Princes, and People, of what 
Nation, Condition, or Quality soever, Barretry of the Master 
and Mariners, and of all other Perils, Losses, and Misfortunes 
that have or shall come to the Hurt, Detriment, or Damage 
of the said Goods and Merchandises and Ship, &c., or any 
Part thereof; and in case of any Loss or Misfortune it shall be 
lawful to the Assured, their Factors, Servants, and Assigns, 
to sue, labour, and travel for, in and about the Defence, Safe- 
guard, and Recovery of the said Goods and Merchandises 
and Ship, &c., or any Part thereof, without Prejudice to this 
Insurance; to the Charges whereof we, the Assurers, will 
contribute each one according to the Rate and Quantity of his 
Sum herein assured. And it is agreed by us, the Insurers, 
that this Writing or Policy of Assurance shall be of as much 
Force and Effect as the surest Writing or Policy of Assurance 
heretofore made in Lombard Street, or in the Royal Exchange, 
or elsewhere in London. And so we the Assurers are con- 
tented, and do hereby promise and bind ourselves, each one 
for his own Part, our Heirs, Executors, and Goods, to the 
Assured, their Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, for 
the true Performance of the Premises, confessing ourselves 
paid the Consideration due unto us for this Assurance by the 
Assured at and after the Rate of 

Seventy shillings per cent. 

IN WITNESS whereof, we the Assurers have subscribed 
our Names and Sums assured in London, 14 Sept.y 1869. 



N.B. — Com, Fish, Salt, Fruit, Flour, and Seed, are war- 
ranted free from Average, unless general, or the Ship be 
stranded ; Sugar, Tobacco, Hemp, Flax, Hides, and Skins 
are warranted free from Average under Five Pounds per 



UNDER WRITERS, 1 7 

Cent. ; and all other Goods, also the Ship and Freight, are 
warranted free from Average under Three Pounds per Cent., 
unless genera], or the Ship be stranded. 

[Here follow Signatures of Underwriters. 1 

Now, when you consider that the maximum loss to each 
person in this case is only ;^ 150, and consider the expense 
and worry of an investigation and trial in case of fraudulent 
carelessness, you will see that it is vain to expect any one 
of them to move alone, and a consideration of the dif- 
ficulties in the way of combined action even amongst rail- 
way or bank shareholders to investigate and punish wrong- 
doing by directors shows also that nothing is to be expected 
from combined action. 

But you may say, so far as unseaworthiness at least is 
concerned, inquiry previous to the insuring would reveal 
that : why don't the underwriters make this inquiry ? — also, 
why don't they investigate the character of the proposed 
insurer? The answer is, the risk must be accepted or 
declined on the instant ; and even if this were not so, the 
number of risks dealt with daily by each individual under- 
writer precludes this. To convince you of this, I now 
quote a page from the book in which an underwriter enters 
his engagements ; it has been kindly lent me by the owner. 
(See next page.) 

You see in this that the number dealt with by him in one 
day is more than twenty ; the average in the book per day , 
is twenty-three j and I am sure he will excuse me for saying 
that there are very many who deal with far greater numbers. 
Now, this is exclusive of all those (even more numerous) 
risks offered to him daily which he did not accept. 

What chance was there that he should make inquiry into 
all these cases, even if there was time ? He could not do 
it. All he could do he did, — />., he referred to Lloyd's 
list, or the list of the Committee of Liverpool, and saw how 
the vessel was classed. I shall explain this further on. 

I now show you another policy. The proposal is 

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UNDERWRITERS. 19 

by a firm called "F. C. & Co." on the slip, to effect 
an insurance on ;;^5 0,000 worth of cotton to be bought 
in Bombay, and to be sent home U. K. (United King- 
dom) in such quantities and in such ships as -their 
agent in Bombay may determine. In this case the rate 
offered is 50^. per ;;^ioo, and the risk is accepted at that 
rate in various amounts. You will see the policy which 
was executed in accordance with the terms implied rather 
than specified on the slip. This policy was underwritten 
by 118 individuals, — 

67 of whom guaKinteed ;f 500 each = ;f 33»500 

25 „ „ 400 = 10,000 

II „ M 300 = 3,300 

4 »» »» 250 = 1,000 

and II „ „ 200 = 2,200 



In all . . . . ;f 50,000 

But as the quantity was sent home in five ships, the Cher- 
welly the BavelaWy the British Flag, the Oberon, and the 
British Peer, the highest risk to each underwriter per ship 
was only ;£^ioo, and to the lowest only ;^4o. 



[No. CCCXVIII. 

6^ Co,^s Lloyd* s Policy, 

Be it known thai <Sr* Co., 

For as agents 

S. G. as well in their own Name, as for and in the 

^^_____^_^_______ Name and Names of all and every other 

Person or Persons to whom the same doth, 



;f 50,000. may, or shall appertain, in part or in all, 

^___^____________ doth make assurance and cause themselves 

' and them and every of them, to be insured. 

Delivered the day \ lost or not lost, at and from Bombay to any 

of / port or ports of call for discharge in the 

United Kingdom. JVith leave to call at all 
(No, ) ports and places as well on this as at and on 

the other side of the Cape of Good Hope for 
any and all purposes, upon any Kind of Goods and Mer- 
chandises, and also upon the Body, Tackle, Apparel, Ord- 



20 OUR SEAMEN, 

nance, Munition, Artillery, Boat and other Furniture, of and 
in the good Ship or Vessel called the 

"Ship'' or*' Ships,'' 
whereof is Master, under God for this present Voyage, 

or whosoever else shall go 
for Master in the said Ship, or by whatsoever other Name or 
Names the same Ship, or the Master thereof, is or shall be 
named or called, beginning the Adventure upon the said Goods 
and Merchandises from the loading thereof aboard the said 
Ship 

upon the said Ship, &c., including all risk of craft in loading 
and discharging y and shaU so continue and endure, during her 
Abode there, upon the said Ship, &c. ; and further, untU the 
said Ship, with all her Ordnance, Tackle, Apparel, &c., and 
Goods and Merchandises whatsoever, shall be arrived at 

upon the said Ship, &c., until she hath moored at Anchor 
Twenty-four Hours in good Safety, and upon the Goods and 
Merchandises until the same be there discharged and safely 
landed ; and it shall be lawful for the said Ship, &c., in this 
Voyage to proceed and sail to and touch and stay at any Ports 
or Places whatsoever and wheresoever , for any and all pur" 
poses, without being deemed a deviation, and without Prejudice 
to this Insurance. The said Ship, &c.. Goods and Mer- 
chandises, &c., for so much as concerns the Assured, by 
Agreement between the Assured and Assurers in this Policy, 
are and shall be valued at ;f 50,000, on Cotton, as Interest may 
appear or cu may be declared and valued hereafter. To pay 
average cls customary. General average payable as per foreign 
statement if so made up. Touching the Adventures and 
Perils which we the Assurers are contented to bear and do 
take upon us in this Voyage, they are, of the Seas, Men-of- 
War, Fire, Enemies, Pirates, Rovers, Thieves, Jettisons, 
Letters of Mart and Countennait, Surprisals, Takings at Sea, 
Arrests, Restraints and Detainments of all Kings, Princes, 
and People, of what Nation, Condition, or Quality soever, 
Barretry of the Master and Mariners, and of all other Perils, 
Losses, and Misfortunes that have or shall come to the Hurt, 
Detriment, or Damage of the said Goods and Merchandises 
and Ship, &c^, or any Part thereof ; and in case of any Loss 
or Misfortune it shall be lawful to the Assured, their Factors, 
Servants, and Assigns, to sue, labour, and travel for, in, and 
about the Defence, Safeguard, and Recovery of the said Goods 
and Merchandises and Ship, &c., or any Part thereof, with- 
out Prejudice to this Insurance ; to the Charges whereof we, 
the Assurers, will contribute each one according to the Rate 
and Quantity of his Sum herein assured. And it is agreed by 
us, the Insurers, that this Writing or Policy of Assurance 
shall be of as much Force and Effect as the surest Writing or 
Policy of Assurance heretofore made in Lombard Street, or 
in the Royal Exchange, or elsewhere in London. And so we 
the Assurers are contented, and do hereby promise and bind 



UNDERWRITERS. 21 

ourselves, each one for his own Part, our Heirs, Executors, 
and Goods, to the Assured, their Executors, Administrators, 
and Assigns, for the true Performance of the Premises, con- 
fessing ourselves paid the Consideration due unto us for this 
Assurance by the Assured 
, at and after the Rate of Fifty shillings per cent. To return 

9/6 ojofor interest sailing between 20 Oct. and 20 April, and 
4/9 ojofor vessels 10 years A i and upwards , and arrival. 

Warranted free from capture and seizure and the consequences 
of any attempt thereat. 

IN WITNESS whereof, we the Assurers have subscribed 
our names and Sums assured in London y 2 April, 1869. 

N.B. — Com, Fish, Salt, Fruit, Flour, and Seed are war- 
ranted free from Average, unless general, or the Ship be 
stranded; Sugar, Tobacco, Hemp, Flax, Hides, and Skins 
are warranted free from Average under Five Pounds per Cent. ; 
and all other Goods, also the Ship and Freight, are warranted 
free from Average unda: Three Pounds per Cent., unless 
general, or the Ship be stranded. 

It is agreed that this Policy shall cover all cotton belonging 
to Ritchie, Steuart dr* 6b.., of Bombay; or which they may 
receive instructions to insure. Shipments to cUtcLch in order 
as declared, and any shipments not declared to attach according 
to dates of Bills of Lading, but after declarations already 
fncLde. 

Declarations in all cases to be made binding as to the value 
of the Interest, or in the absence of them the Rupee of Jttvoice 
to be taken at 2s. ^d., including premium and all charges for 
insurance. To follow and succeed a Policy for £^0,000, etc., 
done at Lloyd'' s and dated 19 March, 1869. 

Warranted to sail on or before 31 Dec, 1869. 

[Here follow the Signatures of the Underwriters S\ ] 

The next quotation illustrates a third slip — they have all 
been taken, as you see, for large amounts, in order to show- 
how the responsibility, even in these cases, is so divided and 
spread as to leave no one individual a risk large enough to 
be worth fighting to escape, even if there were adequate 
grounds for disputing the subsequent claim. 

In this case, the proposal is to insure purchases of cotton 
in Bombay to the amount of ;^i 0,000, to be sent home 
(U. K.) in such ships and quantities as the proposer's agent 
in Bombay might determine, as the purchases were made : 



22 OUR SEAMEN. 

50J. per ;^ioo is the rate broker and insurer agree to offer, 
and it is subscribed at that premium. 

The particulars in all these cases are given in the way- 
shown on page 13. 

Here is the policy which resulted : — 

[ Be it known that <5^ Co., 

S. G. as well in their own name, as for and in the 

. Name and Names of all and every other 

Person or Persons to whom the same doth, 



;f 10,000. may, or shall appertain, in part or in all, 

doth make assurance and cause themselves 

and them and every of them, to be insured, 
Delivered the day \ lost or not lost, at and from Bombay to a 

of ) Port of call for discharge in the United 

Kingdom., vVith leave to call at all and 
{No. ) any Ports and Places on the Voyage ^ for all 

and any purposes , upon any Kind of Goods 
and Merchandises, and also upon the Body, Tackle, Apparel, 
Ordnance, Munition, Artillery, Boat and other Furniture, of 
and in the good Ship or Vessel called the 
*' Ship" or '' Ships,'' 

warranted to sail on or before y>th June, 1869, 
whereof is Master, under God for this present Voyage, 
or whosoever else shall go for Master in the said Ship, 
or by whatsoever other Name or Names the same Ship, or the 
Master thereof, is or shall be named or called, beginning the 
Adventure upon the said Goods and Merchandises from the 
loading thereof aboard the said Ship 

upon the said Ship, &c., including all risk of craft to and 
from the vessel, and shall so continue and endure, during her 
Abode there, upon the said Ship, &c. ; and further, until the 
said Ship, with all her Ordnance, Tackle, Apparel, &c., and 
Goods and Merchandises whatsoever, shall be arrived at 

upon the said Ship, &c., until she hath moored at Anchor 
Twenty-four Hours in good Safety, and upon the Goods and 
Merchandises until the same be there discharged and safely 
landed ; and it shall be lawful for the said Ship, &c., in this 
Voyage to proceed and sail to and touch and stay at any Ports 
or Places whatsoever and wheresoever, for cUl and any pur- 
poses, without being deemed a deviation, and without Prejudice 
to this Insurance. The said Ship, &c., Goods and Mer- 
chandises, &c., for so much as concerns the Assured, by 
Agreement between the Assured and Assurers in this Policy, 
are and shall be valued at ;f 10,000, on Cotton, as may be 
hereafter declared and valued. Being on shipments made by 
Stenhouse 6r* Co,, of Bombay, in which they are interested ; 
or which they may have received instructions to insure. 



UNDER WRITERS, 23 

Touching the Adventures and Perils which we the Assurers 
are contented to bear and do take upon us in this Voyage, they 
are, of the Seas, Men-of-War, Fire, Enemies, Pirates, Rovers, 
Thieves, Jettisons, Letters of Mart and Countermart, Sur- 
prisals, Takings at Sea, Arrests, Restraints and Detainments 
of all Kings, Princes, and People, of what Nation, Condition, 
or Quality soever, Barretry of the Master and Mariners, and 
of all other Perils, Losses, and Misfortunes that have or shall 
come to the Hurt, Detriment, or Damage of the said Groods 
and Merchandises and Ship, &c., or any Part thereof; and in 
case of any Loss or Misfortune it shall be lawful to the Assured, 
their Factors, Servants, and Assigns, to sue, labour, and 
travel for, in, and about the Defence, Safeguard, and Recovery 
of the said Goods and Merchandises and Ship, &c., or any 
Part thereof, without Prejudice to this Insurance; to the 
Charges whereof we, the Assurers, will contribute each one 
according to the Rate and Quantity of his Sum herein assured. 
And it is agreed by us, the Insurers, that this Writing or 
Policy»of Assurance shall be of as much Force and Effect as 
the surest Writing or Policy of Assurance heretofore made in 
Lombard Street, or in the Royal Exchange, or elsewhere in 
London. And so we the Assurers are contented, and do 
hereby promise and bind ourselves, each one for his own Part, 
our Heirs, Executors, and Goods, to the Assured, their 
Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, for the true Perform- 
ance of the Premises, confessing ourselves paid the Considera- 
tion due unto us for this Assurance by the Assured 

at and after the Rate of Fifty 
Shillings per Cent, To return 9/6 0/0 for sailing between 
20th October and 20th April; and 4/6 ojofor Interest in Ships 
A I, 10 years and upwards ^ and arrival. 



IN WITNESS whereof, we the Assurers have subscribed 
our Names and Sums assured in London, ^ist December, 1868. 

N.B. — Com, Fish, Salt, Fruit, Flour, and Seed are war- 
ranted free from Average, unless general, or the Ship be 
stranded; Sugar, Tobacco, Hemp, Flax, Hides, and Skins 
are warranted free from Average under Five Pounds per 
Cent. ; and all other Goods, also the Ship and Freight, are 
warranted free from Average under Three Pounds per Cent, 
unless general, or the Ship be stranded. 

To follow and succeed a Policy for £10,000, done at Lloyd'' s, 
and dated yyth July, 1868. 

To pay average on every 10 Bales running landing numbers. 

General Average, payable as per foreign statement, if so 
made up. 

Declarations to be made binding in their order, whether in 
the order of the Bills of Lading or othetwise ; or in the 
absence of Declarations, they shall be in the order of the Date 
of the Bills of Lading, Declarations in aU ccLses to be bind' 



24 OUR SEAMEN. 

ing as to the value of the Interest ; and in the absence of 
them, the Rupee of the Invoice to he taken at 2s. ^d.; to 
include Premium and aU charges for Insurance, 

[Here follow the Signatures of the Underwriters.'] ] 

In this case the policy was signed , by 58 persons, of 
whom — 



34 signed for £200 each = ;^6,8oo 
„ 150 = 2,400 



and 8 „ 100 = 800 



In all . . . . ;f 10,000 

But here the cotton was put into eight ships, so that the 
highest risk to each underwriter was per ship only £2^^ 
whilst to the others it was only jQi2 10s, 

These are not paltry cases. The sums (;^5o,ooo, jQi 0,000, 
and ;;^5,5oo) assured are all large ; yet, in these large cases 
it will be seen that the individual payment in case of loss 
was far too small to induce any one to fight a lawsuit in 
order to escape it. 

But, besides the reason that the individual loss of an 
underwriter is too small, considering the trouble and ex- 
pense, to make it worth his while to dispute a claim. 

He is not strong enough. 

Consider how the relative positions of insurer and insured 
differ here between the case of a ship being insured and 
that of a factory or warehouse. In the latter case, those 
called upon to pay are the stronger far of the two parties. 
It is a company with skilled advisers and organised staflf, 
with solicitors and a watchful executive, against the re- 
sources of an individual. In the case we are considering it 
is an individual only who is called upon to pay, and the 
claim is made by a powerful firm, or wealthy individual 
ship-owner — or even if not very wealthy, yet one possessing 
a tremendous stake in the matter, and who may therefore be 
confidently expected to spare no efibrt or exertion in prose- 
cuting it. The claimant has the whole amount of the loss 
at st^dce, the underwriter only an insignificant portion of it. 



UNDERWRITERS. 25 

What wonder is it then that the issue is, as it nearly inva- 
riably is, that the claim is paid ? with much grumbling some- 
times, it may be, and sometimes with more than a suspicion 
of its injustice. Still, it is paid, and the only remedial mea- 
sure open to the underwriter is, that if he has good grounds 
for suspicion, he merely makes a mental note to have no 
further dealings with the suspected persons. As a matter 
of fact, almost all claims, no matter how founded in fraud, 
are thus paid, and it is the rarest thing in the world (it does 
not occur once in 50,000 cases) that a claim is disputed. 
You can judge also, by this, how wretchedly bad the case 
of a ship-owner is, who, to reflections of an injurious nature 
upon such and such a case, can only urge, as proof that all 
was as it should be, the plea that " the underwriters have 
not disputed, but have paid, his claim." 

A further reason why an underwriter cannot dispute a claim 
consists in the fact, that to do so after taking the premium 
(and surely no one expects others to meddle) is probably to 
expose his motive to great suspiciotiy and certainly to expose 
his conduct to the most painful and odious misrepresentation, 
** What ! " cries the indignant policy-holder, " you said no- 
thing about ship or cargo when the broker paid you the pre- 
mium ; you were quiet enough then ; and now, when you are 
called upon to pay the sum you insured, on some cock-and- 
bull story you have heard, or some letter you have received, 
or certain information you say you have received, you dis- 
pute the matter — not, of course," he adds with withering 
sarcasm, " that you are anxious about the money ! It is 
merely in the interests of justice ! You are merely animated 
by a sense of public duty ! " 

Who can expect a man to incur all this odious misrepre- 
sentation and suspicion, when he can escape it all by paying 
the comparatively small sum demanded of him ? 

He knows, too (and this is a fourth reason), that to dis- 
pute such a claim is at once and completely to end his career 
as an underwriter^ and this, too, even if the brokers through 
whom future business is to come are fully satisfied that he 



26 OUR SEAMEN. 

did right, that the disputed claim was founded in fraud, and 
that his motives were pure ; and further, that if he had suc- 
ceeded, a wrong-doer would only have met his deserts. 

You say, " How should this be ? " Well, in this way. The 
insurance broker has no pecuniary interest in the matter either 
way. He procures for the ship-owner the guarantee he wants, 
and the event insured against having happened, his only wish 
is to get it setded as soon as possible. He, too, may have 
made his mental note of the case adverse to further busi- 
ness with his customer, but at present his only concern is to 
get the matter settled as quickly as possible. But if one of 
the signatories to the policy refuses to pay, others may do 
so too (some of them have paid already, and this supplies 
our indignant wrecker with a strong point, "These men 
have paid — these men are honourable. They don't take a 
man's premium, and then try to evade their responsibility," 
&a, &c.) With some of the money in hand, and with 
others, who would have paid had not one underwriter pro- 
tested, what is the broker to do ? He has, it will be ad- 
mitted, a most troublesome business to settle somehow ; and 
who can wonder, then, that in negotiating fresh business in 
the Room, and to avoid future complications, he prefers that 
his slips shall be • signed, his proposals accepted by those 
who will pay in the event of loss without raising incon- 
venient objections, leaving the remedy for wrong to time, 
and the resource of avoiding the business of such a person 
again. 

Now, that this is the remedy, and the only remedy, avail- 
able and adopted by underwriters, perhaps the following 
extract from a pamphlet published by one of them may 
make more clear. The writer complains, it will be seen, of 
the great difficulty, amounting almost to impossibility, of 
getting even an error in the claim rectified : — 

[ Now, I know that in starting my argument for carrying these measures 
into effect, I shall at the outset be opposed by that very respectable but 
antiquated bugbear — "Individuality of action." But I fear I am 
somewhat sceptical of its existence in the Room, except in a homoeo- 
pathic quantity ; and if it does exist, I also doubt if it is used in such a 



UNDER WRITERS. 2 7 

way as to add to the prestige of Lloyd's, or bring more business into 
the Room. Certainly, premiums are incessantly being nibbled at and 
reduced ; losses and claims that should not be settled are very frequently 
settled, while others that should be settled at once are often delayed. 
In our business we daily submit to being defrauded on all sides y, and 
yet have contented ourselves^ very often, with merely lamenting the 
fact, instead of combining to cope with so great an evil. But perhaps 
coTnbination and centralisation are incom^patible with individuality of 
action, and, if so, of course they merit the opposition with which they 
harue been so often treated. 

To show my meaning, I will assume a case of frequent occurrence. 
A claim is brought before an Underwriter, and on examining it he 
finds it incorrect — say in principle. The first few men on the policy 
m4iy have settled it, either because they have not had time to look into it, 
or because the account it occurs on is such a good one they do not like to 
raise any questions, or perhaps because they do not understand it, there^ 
fore cannot check it. In such a case it too often happens that the 
policy is settled over the heads of the man who has discovered the error 
and perhaps others with him, and then brought back to them in such a 
way as to place them, in a very invidious position ; or else, as sometimes 
happens, the settlement is asked as a favour; and at any rate one feels 
the uselessness of contesting even a flagrant case, when the majority of 
settlements on the policy will be brought against one as evidence in 
court, and a jury would be nearly certain to argue that the others 
would not have settled had the claim been incorrect, and would, in nine 
cctses out of ten, give their verdict accordingly. But in such a case, 
where is the individuality of action ? and if you find it, what good did 
it do ? You may ask, why did the Average Staters make up the 
claim ? and I would answer by asking you, are not the Average 
Staters as liable to competition as any of us, and are they not 
frequently pressed to insert in their statements claims for which the 
Underwriters are not liable ? They know that if they refuse, there are 
other Average Staters who will do it, and so" they may lose their 
business connection by their want of compliance, and get no credit from 
the Underwriters either, as of course the latter cannot know what has 
happened in such a case. ] 

It will be seen that the writer complains of want of com- 
bination as the source of the weakness of underwriters. I 
should be running a risk of leaving it open to doubt whether 
organisation would not be an effectual remedy, if I failed 
to point out that no organisation whatever would avail 
to secure proof in one case in one hundred of wrong-doing ; 
for, as will be more fully seen further on, the proofs and 
the witnesses too in the greater part of the cases would be 
in the bottom of the sea. Now, that the remedy, and the 
only remedy available and adopted by underwriters, is 
caution in the future, I think I can show you. Permit a 



28 OUR SEAMEN, 

digression. Ship-owners, as a class, are really careful of 
their men's lives, and neglect no means of safety known to 
them ; and that they are so, considering that the law leaves 
them entirely free to neglect these means if they pleased, is 
a fact very much to their credit But there are in every 
large class of men some who need the law's restraint — who, 
without it, have no hesitation in exposing others to risk, if 
by doing so they can augment their own profits ; amongst 
these are the pushing and energetic, and sometimes needy 
men. What wonder is it, therefore, if these, under the 
pressure of competition and greed, should habitually decide 
points, where the right and wrong are not very clearly 
defined, in a sense favourable to themselves? Thus, sup- 
pose a ship will take 900 tons of cargo with safety, leaving 
her side one-third as high out of water as it is deep below 
it ; and suppose, further, that the freight of 700 tons is 
absorbed by expenses — wages of seamen, cost of fuel, wear 
and tear, interest of capital, cost of insurance, &c. — ^leaving 
the freight on the remaining 200 tons as profit to the owner, 
it is clear that by loading an additional 200 tons the profits 
are doubled, while the load is only increased by about a 
quarter more. And this addition will not load her so 
deeply as to prevent her making a good voyage, if the 
weather is favourable. What wonder is there, I say, that 
needy or unscrupulous men adopt the larger load ? They 
are safe in any case. 

If the vessel makes her port, they secure a very great 
profit. If she meets with rough weather and is lost, they 
recover her value (in too many instances far more than her 
value), and so go on again. 

Nor does the fear of losing the lives of the men operate 
so greatly upon these men's minds as it would if it were 
certain, or even probable, that in all cases where the ship 
is lost the men would be lost too; for so generally are 
dangerous parts of the coast supplied with life-boats, and so 
numerous are they and other means of saving life from 
wrecks, such as the rocket brigades, the coast-guard service, 



UNDERWRITERS. 29 

and the fishing-boats, that no less than five-sixths of the 
men who are wrecked, and whose lives (so far as the ships 
in which they sailed are concerned) are lost — five-sixths of 
these are saved by these means. So that such men know 
that if their ship is lost on our coasts^ the chances that the 
men will be saved are as five to one. 

Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that a few 
men are found amongst ship-owners who are not unwilling 
to expose their men to this diminished risk, where the gains 
of overloading are so large and the risk to themselves 
nothing at all. 

It need not be said that such men have fi-equent losses — 
indeed, the losses we deplore are nearly all of this class ; 
and I have heard one ship-owner say that if a small num- 
ber of well-known ship-owners were put aboard one of 
their own vessels when she was ready for sea, we should, in 
the event of bad weather, see that with them had dis- 
appeared from our annals nine-tenths of the losses we all 
deplore. 

But to return : I was to show you that the only remedy of 
an underwriter against these men is the purpose of declining 
their business in future. 

This is so ; and, in particular instances, such is the evil 
reputation which some bad men acquire, so generally are 
they known for their habitual overloading, for their terribly 
frequent and disastrous losses, for their cynical disregard of 
human life, that after paying increasingly high rates of 
premium for insurance, in the ports where they are known, 
the time sometimes comes when they can only insure in 
London, where they are as yet unknown, and even there, 
after still further experience, their names become so black 
with infamy, that nobody will insure their risks at any 
premium, and where it is necessary in the course of business 
to insure cargo not yet purchased, as com or cotton abroad, 
or not yet ready for delivery, as railroad iron for foreign, 
and when the ships are not taken up yet (in which case it 
is usual to say on the slip " in a ship or ships"), the brokers 



30 OUR SEAMEN. 

dare not offer their slips in the Room, or would have no 
chance of success if they did, unless they wrote under the 
usual particulars these damning words — "Warranted not 
to be shipped in any vessels belonging to — , — , — , — : " 
the blanks being filled up with the names of certain ship- 
owners ; and I, Samuel Plimsoll, who am writing this letter, 
say that I have seen slips so endorsed, and that too with 
names which (however well known by a few) stand fair in 
the eye of the world, in which their infamous owners hold 
their heads very high indeed. 

There is indeed one other remedy, but it is not often 
available to an underwriter ; it is when he has early infor- 
mation of wrong-doing after underwriting and before a 

catastrophe. A case I knew of was that of Mr. , 

insuring a part of a ship and cargo from India to England. 
A letter happened to be posted to him in India the day 
before the ship sailed ; the letter arrived first ; it stated that 

" the , which sails to-morrow, is very deep in the 

water ; she is much overloaded." This underwriter imme- 
diately reinsured at Lloyd's, to cover his own risk. The 
ship was lost ; but the money he received from the other 
underwriter covered his own loss : but this, you see, is a 
mere shifting of the burden. Forgive me for taking so 
much pains, and occupying so much of your time in clear- 
ing up this point. I feel it to be of the utmost importance. 
The current idea on the subject is an error, a fatal and 
homicidal mistake, and surely no pains can be too great to 
take, no expense too large to incur, to uproot it, and 
impress the right view — consider, our object is to save 
precious human life ! 

I earnestly hope that I have convinced you that it is vain 
to expect an underwriter to interfere to mend matters, 
because — his interest is too small; because — he is not 
strong enough ; because — he would expose himself to pain- 
fiil suspicion ; and because — to do so would destroy his 
business. 

But even if we could find one sufficiently bold, public- 



UNDER WRITERS, 3 if 

Spirited, and unselfish, as to be willing, notwithstanding all 
this, to take up the matter, consider what enormous difficul- 
ties would meet him at the very outset. 

Suppose it was the case I have quoted of a ship sailing 
from India, which was lost from shameful overloading, and 
that instead of reinsuring the underwriter had decided to 
investigate the case, and bring it before a court of law. 
He must go or send a commission to India to collect 
evidence as to the state of the ship at the time of sailing 
(what time and expense are involved here !). Such evidence 
is frequently too general — the witness could not define 
precisely the depth to which the ship was loaded ; he wrote 
from general observation. Again, is the witness to be 
brought to England? As to the ship herself, she is at the 
bottom of the sea. The captain and seamen could no 
doubt give their opinions, but they too are at the bottom of 
the sea — clearly nothing could be done in this case. 

Let us take a better : the ship is lost nearer home, 
captain and m^en are saved, but they have to work for a 
living, and before news of the loss is to hand, they have 
gone to their homes, or they are engaged in other ships, 
and are scattered over every sea. 

Let us take another still easier for the underwriter, the 
case of a ship sailing from one of our own ports to another 
port also in England, and wrecked, let us say in Yarmouth 
Roads, the crew all saved — and let us suppose that our 
friend hears of the disaster immediately, and sets off for 
Yarmouth, first telegraphing for the men to wait his arrival. 

He finds them, he employs legal assistance, their evidence 
is collected, the case is clear. What then ? They may be 
unwilling witnesses ; the captain, the officers, the men all 
know that if they give evidence they destroy their chances 
of future employment, even by owners who disapprove the 
practices of the owners of the lost ship. They have 
escaped with their lives, they hope for better luck next 
voyage ; even if their late employer is punished, the bad 
system remains untouched; why should they sacrifice their 



32 OUR SEAMEN, 

chances of future employment ? Some of them indeed may- 
be bought over by the owner or agents — such people are 
not likely to be very nice in their dealings. But we will 
suppose none of these things happen, and the trial comes 
on. What then? Why, the trial can only be taken in 
turn or at assizes; the men must live in the meantime. 
The underwriter takes on himself all the cost of maintaining 
them in the interval — ^perhaps it is a long one — and the trial 
at length takes place. What happens then ? The owners 
bring evidence too, and anybody knows how easy it is with 
a long purse to obtain plausible or professional evidence 
for even a bad cause. The chances are much against his 
getting a verdict or otherwise gaining his cause, and, if he 
does succeed, what will he have done by all this expenditure 
of time and money ? He will have secured that one bad 
man was punished, and he will have destroyed himself as 
an underwriter. Further, he will know that for the one man 
punished hundreds go free, as in the great majority of cases 
it would be impossible, even with all this impossible assump- 
tion of energy and self-sacrifice, so much as to get evidence 
enough to go into court with at all. 

I am sorry to have taken so much of your time on this 
point, but I trust that at least this result is made clear — 
clear as a demonstration in mathematics — that it is vain to 
expect a remedy from the underwriters. 

Observe how not only different, but how opposite are all 
the circumstances of insuring a factory and insuring a ship. 

In insuring a house or a factory, the party to the contract 
who has to pay the loss is the stronger of the two ; in the 
case of a ship, he is infinitely the weaker. If wrong-doing 
is attempted in the former case, it is with risk of life to his 
family in the case of a house, and with the greatest risk of 
detection to himself in that of either house or warehouse ; 
in the latter, the owner of a ship may induce the result 
simply by neglect — by indefinite postponement of repair. 
In the former, if loss occur, it is known immediately ; in 
the latter, many months often intervene before the loss is 



UNDER WRITERS, ' 33 

known. In the former the proofs and the witnesses are on 
the spot ; in the latter the proofs are at the bottom of the 
sea, and the witnesses, even if saved, are at the ends of the 
earth. 

And yet, in the face of all this, we hear from a gentleman 
high in authority and influence, who could long since have 
extended to our seamen the protection they need, and which 
is enjoyed by all other classes of our fellow-subjects, words 
like these — read them for yourself : — 

From the Journal of the Society of Arts, 

Fibruary 11, 1870. 

[ The next topic, that of deck-loading, was of considerable importance. 
Mr. Wood proposed that no dead weight of any description should be 
allowed, that no animal or other cargo should be carried on a steamer's 
bridge, &c. Now, to interfere with the loading of a ship was to inter- 
fere with the business .of a ship-owner, and if you did that at all, it 
would only be logical to do so entirely. Again, by making such a 
provision, you would virtually shut up certain classes of trade ^to- 
gether. As one instance with which he was familiar, he might mention 
the steamers that plied from Gilasgow roimd the Hebrides and Orkneys 
and to Wick. They were really steam omnibuses. They touched at 
one place, perhaps, and took in a few bags of periwinkles ; at another 
a few bags of meal and a sheep or two ; then at another island they 
would deposit the sheep to graze, and exchange the meal for salt fish, 
and so on through the whole journey. If these steamers could not 
carry cargo on deck their trade would be stopped altogether. Again, 
if such a law were made, it would easily be defeated. They would 
only have to put an awning deck above, which would be kept clear, 
and then they would carry even more than at present on the deck, and 
so perhaps render the boats more unsafe than they are alleged to be at 
present He did not think Government ought to interfere in any way 
in the carrying or stowing of cargo, which must be understood and 
performed better by the ship-owner than by any Government agent, 
with regard to overloading and load-lines, the object with which keels 
carrying coak were first marked, was purely a fiscal one. The vessel 
was loaded down to a certain line, and nails were then driven in at the 
stem and stem to show how much cargo she was to carry ; she was 
taxed for that amount, and was not allowed to carry more. In the 
same way the registration of tonnage was required purely for fiscal 
purposes. A register ton simply meant 100 cubic feet of internal 
space, and the object of fixing it was to apportion the light dues to be 
paid by each vessel. It had nothing whatever to do with the carrying 
capacity or the load-line. The formula given by Mr. Moorsom, as 
quoted in the paper, was only offered as a rough-and-ready method, as 
stated by that gentleman, because some owners were unwilling to take 
the trouble of making the necessary deductions alluded to. With 



34 OUR SEAMEN. 

regard to a load-line, all he could say was that in 1853 ^^^ Board of 
Trade consulted a number of practical persons throughout the country 
on this subject, and the result was they could not get any two persons 
to agree as to the method of calculating such a load-line ; but Mr. 
Wood now proposed that there should be two, according to the quaUty 
of the cargo, which would greatly increase the difl&culty. There would 
be immediate complications if the vessel carried a cargo partly com- 
posed of one kind of goods and partly of another, and the load-line 
must vary according to the proportions. The real remedy appeared to 
him to be this, that the Government, instead of interfering in any way 
with the loading, should see that on both stem and stem the correct 
draught of water was placed. A record would then be kept of the 
draught of water of all ships going to sea, and it would rest with the 
parties interested to see whether any ship went to sea properly loaded 
or not. The proposal, that the collector of customs should detain a 
master's certificate because his vessel was overloaded appeared specially 
objectionable, as it made the captain suffer for the faidt of the owner. 
With regard to lifeboats and rafts, he considered they were exceedingly 
necessary, but he feared British ship-owners would never be persuaded 
to carry a raft instead of a boat (though in a big ship it might be 
carried as well), because the one could be used for ordinary purposes 
and the other could not. The last thing to be done, therefore, was to 
provide such a boat as should be available both for ordinary purposes 
and also for saving life in case of accident. The matter under dis- 
cussion was but one part, and tliat a small one, of a very large question. 
Prevention, it was well known, was better than cure, and prevention in 
some shape must be looked to ; the only question was how it could be 
applied. Some people wished to prevent loss of hfe by inspections, 
certificates, and Government interference, whilst another mode was to 
abolish Government interference altogether, and to leave the owner 
responsible for his own acts and to make him pay in the event of 
culpable neglect or any abuse of the power entrusted to him. Take 
the case of railways ; he did not beHeve that if a Board of Trade 
official were to inspect every line of railway daily, sit on every engine 
and watch it, be at every signal-post, and smell every man's breath to 
make sure he was not drunk, there would be so few accidents as under 
the present system, by which heavy damages were given against railway 
companies in case of accidents. Let a ship-owner do his business and 
mind his business, and let the imderwriters and Government do the 
same. Let ships he lost and cargoes he losty so long as underwriters are 
too sordid or too lazy to refuse payment of doubtful and fraudulent 
cases. But if the ship-owner puts the country to expense, or causes or 
contributes to the death of a citizen, let him have justice without mercy. 
It was precisely the same with the owner of a mine. He had just been 
talking to the owner of a large mine in the north, who told him he had 
just had a boiler blown up. He inquired how that came to happen, 
and he said he did not know ; the overlooker inspected it every week, the 
under-overlooker every day, and it was also insured in the Boiler Asso- 
ciation, on whose behalf it was also inspected regularly. It had been 
inspected and repaired only three days before it blew up, and the 
inspector congratulated him on having so good a boiler. Again, all 
the men had lamps, which were inspected by men in his own employ- 
ment, who were responsible. If all this were done by a Government 
inspector it would not be done so well, and the responsibility would be 



UNDER WRITERS, 35 

shifted from the right shoulders to the wrong ones. The evil of modem 
legislation had been that it was, to a great extent, sensational. When 
the Cricket blew up, everybody said what a horrible thing it was, and 
that explosions must be prevented, and the consequence was that legis- 
lation was undertaken in a panic, and that was the basis of the Steam 
Navigation Act, and of parts of the Shipping Act, and he was afraid 
to say how long the system would be perpetuated. People had a 
superstitious idea that because a ship had been inspected she must be 
safe ; if they could only get over that superstition and apply the proper 
remedy, he beHeved many difficulties would be removed, and there 
would soon be a diminution in the loss of life at sea. He confined 
himself to the question of loss of life, because, of course, property must 
look after itself. He could hardly do better than conclude by quoting 
a passage from Herbert Spencer : — *' Ever since society has existed, 
disappointment has been preaching put not your trust in legislation, 
and yet our trust in legislation is scarcely diminished. We have long 
since ceased to coerce men for their spiritual good, though we have 
not yet ceased to coerce them for their temporal good, not seeing that 
the one is as useless and unwarrantable as the other.'* ] 

^^ Inebriate f clinging to lamppost: 'What am I staying 
here for ? Why, — ^hic — don't you see that the street is — 
hie — tumin' roun* and roun7 Well, then, — hie — I'm wait- 
ing till my house comes opposite, and then 1*11 — hie — 
go in/ " 

I have suppressed the name of the speaker, beeause, for 
aught I know, the special knowledge which could have 
served him, and so saved thousands of lives, was probably 
not required Of him on his appointment, and if that was so, 
it would not be reasonable to complain of his not possessing 
it ; but I do consider there is very great cause of complaint 
in the promise exacted by him from a deputation of working 
men, which waited upon the President of the Board of Trade 
last year, to urge upon him that measures should be taken 
by Government to protect the lives of their fellow working 
men at sea. 

The deputation was numerous, and consisted of delegates 
from nearly all the large inland manufacturing towns, and 
we counted greatly upon the moral effect of the deputation, 
and what the members of it had to say, upon public opinion. 

Well, before a word was said, this gentleman asked if any 
reporters were present? There was no official reporter; 
one of the deputation was a contributor to the press, and 
we relied upon him ; but we were told we could not be 



36 OUR SEAMEN. 

heard, unless we would engage that no report of the meeting 
should be made to the press. We were greatly disappointed, 
but there was no appeal, and, hoping to impress the Presi- 
dent's mind sufficiently for our purpose, we acquiesced. 

I afterwards noticed that Mr. Gladstone and the Home 
Secretary, or Mr. Forster (I forget which of the two latter 
names), at any rate two Cabinet Ministers, received two 
deputations the same day, and the following day full reports, 
both of the names of the deputation and what they had to 
say, appeared in the papers, doubtless to the advantage of 
their respective causes. Now, why should the working 
men, so disinterestedly working for the sailors, have been 
denied the enormous advantage to their cause of publicity ? 

I am afraid that the Marine Department of the Board of 
Trade is uncomfortably conscious that things are wrong, 
but don't see their way to a remedy, and don't want to be 
disturbed. 

There seems to be a good deal of energy there too (if 
only it were more wisely directed), for recently the wreck 
charts, always very good and full of information (they 
tabulate results well, but don't see the fearful lessons they 
should teach), have appeared in all the glories of chromo- 
lithography, and the ghastly results appear gay with red, 
blue, buff, yellow, green, and black (making it impossible to 
get a good negative), a proceeding which suggests the idea of 
a homicide smitten with lunacy, and decking the body of his 
victim with flowers. For Heaven's sake, while we have to pub- 
lish such fearful figures, let us do it decently again, in black. 

To resume, however. I trust I have shown you that we 
cannot look, with any reason or probability for any remedy 
to existing abuses, to the underwriters. 

Sailors, — Can we, with any better hope of success, look 
to the sailors themselves? Cannot they refuse to sail 
except in ships so sound, so efficiently equipped, and so 
properly loaded, as to satisfy all reasonable expectations 
and to afford a fair chance of their making a safe voyage ? 
Well, you have to consider their circumstances before you 



SAILORS. 37 

can form a sound opinion on this point. The sailor is not 
given to calculating too nicely all probable dangers any- 
more than other working men; indeed, it may be safely 
said that if working men did thus stay to calculate their 
chances of safety, half the work of the world would remain 
undone. It is not a labour free from danger to life and 
limb to build a lofty pile of warehouses : a false step when 
near the top, the least unsteadiness of eye or hand, the 
momentary failing of their nerve, a badly-tied scaffold cord, 
and they meet with a violent death. This is still more the 
case in the building of a steeple or chimney-stack. It is 
dreadfully injurious to health to grind forks, and the late 
Dr. Holland showed that few dry grinders lived to be more 
than thirty-one years of age. Yet there has never been a 
lack of men willing and ready to engage in any, of these 
occupations. To be engaged upon the building of a bridge, 
to earn your living by descending into the sewers of London, 
and spending the long day in an atmosphere so foul that a 
light will scarcely bum, are not pursuits tending to long life. 
Yet men are found to do all this. To sink a shaft hundreds 
of yards deep, and work in it day by day for months, where 
a bit of stone, falling from the top, or from an ascending 
load, is almost certain death, would not attract a man 
thoughtful about risks and desirous of long life. There are 
many employments almost certainly fatal to life after a 
longer or shorter time, and which are plentifully productive 
of ill health during life, but there is no lack of candidates 
even for these. To spend your life underground in a mine 
or in a coal-pit, far away from the pit bottom, and where the 
dangers increase in proportion to the number employed, for 
each man holds the lives of all the rest in his keeping, and 
the safety of all depends upon the care with which each 
single man guards his light — this, surely, is not a life free 
from peril, leaving out of consideration the danger of tap- 
ping some old working, and so letting in death as a flood 
upon them. 

Yet, for all these employments there are always men 
ready and waiting. The simple fact is that working men 



38 OUR SEAMEN. 

have no choice, their own needs are pressing, their wives 
and children look to them for bread ; while they hesitate (if 
they do hesitate) they hunger, and so, as each man thinks 
all men mortal but himself, he goes to work and takes his 
chance. Seamen, too, are far more unprotected than other 
men, and this is especially so in the case of overloading (so 
great a cause of disaster), for their articles are signed before- 
hand, they have no voice in the matter of loading ; and if 
they refuse to sail for any cause, they can be, as they have 
been, and as they are, sent to gaol for periods of three 
weeks to three months ; and men have, to my own know- 
ledge, gone to sea and to death in spite of tearful entreaties 
of wife and sister, driven by this cause alone, owing to the 
almost invincible repugnance of respectable men (the men 
I have in my mind were engineers) to the contamination, 
the degradation, of a common gaol. 

No; what with the general insensibility to danger to 
themselves, who have lived so long in this way of life, and 
come safe through so many perils — and what with the 
shrinking from the charge of cowardice and the repugnance 
to gaol of even those whose apprehensions are aroused, I 
am satisfied we cannot with any reason (as we certainly have 
no right to) look for remedy to the unaided seaman. 

Ship-owners. — Cannot we then look to the ship-owner, to 
his sense of justice, to his self-interest, to put a stop to this 
deplorable state of things ? 

We shall be better able to answer that question if we 
consider the process by which it has come to pass that, 
whereas in the early part of this century every ship was the 
subject of the most anxious care on the part of her owner 
or owners, who neglected no known means of providing for 
her safety, and when from age or decay she could no longer 
be sent to sea with safety, she was broken up ; it is now the 
case (as to a considerable portion of our mercantile marine) 
that necessary repairs are so systematically neglected that it 
can be said with truth, as it is said by the Committee of the 
National Life-Boat Institution, that " such is the notoriously 
ill-found and unseaworthy manner in which vessels are sent 



SHIP' O WNERS, 39 

on their voyages, that in every gale — even if it be of a 
moderate character only — it becomes a certainty that num- 
bers of them will be destroyed. " Well may they add — " It 
is overwhelming to contemplate the loss of life from these, 
in too many instances avoidable^ wrecks." Before insurance 
was adopted, every ship was, after every long voyage, most 
carefully overhauled. If she was foimd to need repairs, 
those repairs were carefully executed; if her cordage or 
rigging was getting tender, it was replaced with rigging new 
and strong — nothing was neglected to insure her safety; 
her return home was watched for with the utmost solicitude 
and anxiety. Her safe return was an occasion of great 
rejoicing, in which the whole family of the ship-owner par- 
ticipated. Presents and various indulgences signalised the 
happy time. So much so was this the case, that presents 
were promised in anticipation of her return, and at last ii 
settled into a household word, and such and such a thing 
was to be done, and such and such a present was promised, 
all to be redeemed " when my ship lands.*' 

Gradually, however, as insurance came into general use, 
this great care was relaxed a little. Trade was too good 
and busy for the customary overhauling, and it was put off 
till after the next voyage. Then perhaps it was done, or 
perhaps the same considerations pleaded for yet further 
delay. These temptations to delay received a powerful 
(though perhaps unconscious) support, in the reflection that 
now that the ship was insured the owner's property was 
safe in any event. 

At all events, it must be admitted that the owner was no 
longer prompted by that great anxiety about the safety of 
his property which formerly weighed upon his mind, with 
such good results that there was absolutely no necessity to 
legislate in a sense requiring him to watch over the safety 
of his vessel, and to execute all needed repairs promptly, 
regularly, and efficiently. 

Or, another set of reasons came into operation. Trade 
was so bad, and profits so small, that really he could hardly 
afford to be continually watching for an opportunity of 



40 OUR SEAMEN, 

spending money, and really the ship looked very well, and 
we may very safely defer the next examination until after 
another trip. For a time old habits prevailed to keep up a 
tolerably decent state of things ; but, slowly and surely, the 
habits and practice which were bom of anxiety for the 
safety of his property, and fear of loss, changed when that 
anxiety ceased to exist, and when the k>ss could no longer 
overtake him. 

So well was this understood to be the case, that after 
some years of the existence of Lloyd's as an institution for 
insurance, the insurance people themselves instituted another 
society or committee, henceforward to exist alongside the 
older society, and now by outsiders confounded with it. 
The object of this society (Lloyd's Register Committee) 
was to collect information as to the state of ships, their age, 
state of repair, &c. For the guidance of the underwriters, 
this committee adopted tl>e plan of classifying the ships, 
and eventually the present elaborate and most useful 
system was the result. But anore of this further on. 

I have sliown how the modem practice of insurance 
operated in relaxing the vigilance formerly exercised in 
keeping up the repairs of a ship. I will now show its 
eflfects in relaxing the good old rule of loading, viz. — ^that 
for every foot depth of hold (measurii!^ from the under-side 
of the main-deck to the keel) 3 inches should be left above 
the water line, summarised as " 3 inches of side to the foot 
of hold," 

When you consider how small an addition to the fair 
load of a ship will augment the profits of a trip 25, and 
even 50, per cent., you will easily see how great was the tempta- 
tion, especially in settled weather, to add the extra weight. 

When freights run low, the margin for profit over expenses 
is small ; it may take nine-tenths of the cargo to pay the 
costs; an addition, then, of only 10 per cent, to the weight 
of the cargo will double the profit, and 20 per cent., which 
will still leave the ship in trim difficult to find fault with, 
will treble the earnings ; and when we consider the enor- 
mous advantage this gave to the reckless, and the temptation 



SHIP-OWNERS. 41 

to even those who disapproved of the practice to follow it 
in self-defence, it is really wonderful to me that the practice 
should now be, as it undoubtedly is, confined to only a 
section of the trade. 

When this temptation was held in check by the fear of 
losing the ship, no harm was done — ^prudence prevailed to 
prevent too great a risk being run ; but when that fear was 
withdrawn, it is not to be wondered at that the caution bred 
of it disappeared also, and little by little a system of over- 
loading has grown up amongst the needy and reckless 
section of ship-owners, which, as you have seen, the Board 
of Trade charges with a large portion of our entire losses at 
sea. Sometimes, too, it was not merely greed that did 
this ; the managing clerk of the wharves to and from which 
the ship works has much ado to get freight sometimes, and 
a good deal of canvassing among merchants. The freight 
comes in answer ; what is he to do ? There is more than can 
be considered a safe load. To leave part over for the next 
trip is to give offence to the sender, and to neutralise the 
results of much solicitation. The weather is good ; the trip 
not a very long one : // must go. The captain perhaps 
remonstrates ; but the managing clerk presses, perhaps says, 
as I have known them to say, " Oh, captain, you're getting 
timid as you get into years." And eventually it goes — goes 
safely, too; for, remember, it is only a few of the over- 
loaded ships that are overtaken with the fate they tempt, 
and this success is urged then on future occasions as an 
unanswerable reply to any further remonstrance by the 
captain, and what was once the exception becomes the rule. 
A captain once complained to me that the clerk had said 

to him, " Oh, Captain , you are getting afraid ! '* 

"Afraid?" he said, " I wished he was out with me some 
nights that I'm out — one night of it would turn his hair 
white with fear." 

When we consider the force and the continued pressure 
of these two temptations — neglect of repair and overloading 
— I think we have great cause for thankfulness that affairs 
are no worse, for it is well known in seaport towns that the 



42 OUR SEAMEN. 

great majority of our ship-owners do keep up repairs, and 
do not overload. It is only a few who do these things, and 
ship-owners, as a body, repudiate these practices, and have 
repeatedly memoralized the Board of Trade in favour of the 
adoption of a maximum load-line on the side of the ship, 
below which she should not be allowed to be loaded, and a 
compulsory survey by its officers of all unclassed ships. To 
put the case shortly, — before insurance was practised, legis- 
lation was not needed ; a new state of things has now arisen, 
which Parliament has not yet given attention to. 

Clearly, then, we can no more look to ship-owners to 
remedy these evils (they having, as a class, done what they 
could), than we can to the seamen, nor to the underwriters, 
— and are, therefore, as clearly driven to this conclusion : 
That it is the duty of society generally to interfere, through 
the State, to extend to seamen the same degree of care as is 
bestowed on so many classes of our fellow-subjects. I say 
society, instead of Government, because no Government can 
well move in the matter until public opinion requires it. 
Society means the individuals comprising it — therefore it is 
on you, who read these lines, that this great, this life-giving 
duty now devolves— you personally — ^not Parliament only, 
not Government merely, but you, 

I will suppose, and God grant, for the sake of our poor 
brothers on the deep, that you are convinced ; and, being 
convinced, are willing to render what aid you can in reme- 
dying this evil ; and will then, with you, now consider its 
extent, its more particular sources, and the remedy. But, 
before I go to this, I want just to say a word about insur- 
ance. Is insurance a bad thing, since it has destroyed that 
anxious care for his own property in a few ship-owners, 
which formerly tended so greatly to preserve the lives of the 
seamen ? I don't think it is ; it is an unmixed good for all 
the other ship-owners, and, by giving greater security to the 
trade, has greatly tended to increase our mercantile marine, 
to the great advantage of the nation ; and with regard to 
the minority, a very simple legislative enactment would 
have prevented these temptations from becoming so great 



PRECEDENTS. 43 

as to involve dangerous results. In Holland the law pro- 
hibits a ship-owner, under heavy penalties, from insuring a 
ship for more than two-thirds of her value — value determined 
not by owner, but by a public officer. He, the ship-owner, 
thus enjoys all the legitimate advantages of security, and 
still remains under the wholesome dread of loss so necessary 
to ensure all proper precautions being taken to secure the 
safety of the men. 

Precedents, — But, you may ask, shall we not, if we inter- 
fere in this matter, be establishing an inconvenient .precedent, 
la)dng down a new and untried principle which may subse- 
quently be very embarrassing, and possibly lead to undesir- 
able results ? No, we shall not ; we shall simply be acting 
in accordance with precedent. We shall be only doing for 
those who need it most (and who, but for the fact that poli- 
tically they are the weakest class of all our fellow-subjects, 
would long since have had it done for them), what has 
already been done for nearly all classes ashore. 

Only last session, another and most beneficial measure 
was added by Parliament to several preceding ones, the 
object of which was to benefit, and diminish the risk to, the 
coal miner, the ironstone getter, and indeed all classes of 
miners. These measures contain many and very minute 
regulations respecting the modes in which mines must be 
sunk and opened. You must not work a coal mine with 
less than two shafts, the additional one being simply to give 
another chance of escape to the men in case of accident ; 
and, what is more to the purpose, a large staff of scientific 
men, paid by the State, is appointed to inspect these mines, 
— men whose attention is constantly occupied in consider- 
ing the causes of accidents, and the precautions best adapted 
to prevent their recurrence. 

All operatives in factories — ^men, women, and children — 
work under conditions imposed by the law ; and these, too, 
have a large and efficient staff of inspectors, who see that 
the provisions of the law are properly complied with, that 
the revolving machinery is properly fenced off, &c., and 
these inspectors are paid by the State. 



44 VUR SEAMEN, 

By the Act passed August 15, 1867, all the following 
classes of workmen ashore are cared for : those who work 
in — 

Mills, 

Forges, 

Foundries, 

Premises in which steam and water-power are em- 
ployed, 

Manufactories of machinery. 

Paper manufactories. 

Glass manufactories, 

Tobacco manufactories. 

Letterpress printing and 

Bookbinding manufactories. 

This Act, amongst other things, prohibits the taking of 
meals in certain factories, enacts the use of a fan in others, 
and that grinding-stones shall be fixed in accordance with 
certain conditions in others. The persons charged with 
seeing to the due observance of the Acts are appointed and 
paid by the State. The Act 30 and 31 Vic., c. 103, even 
regulates the hours in which alone children, young persons, 
and women shall work, and enacts the employment of certain 
mechanical means with a view to preserving their health ; 
and imposes heavy penalties on any person who shall in any 
way impede the inspector charged with the duty of seeing 
the provisions of the Act carried out. 

30 & 31 Vic, c. 141, regulates the relations of masters 
and servants in certain cases, to the end that the latter may 
be better protected. And since I have been in Parliament 
an Act has been passed abolishing imprisonment for breach 
of contract by a workman, and substituting civil action as a 
remedy. Yet to this day if a seaman refuses to go to sea in 
a ship after signing articles, he is sent handcuffed and to 
prison for three months, even though he may have been 
induced to sign articles under a promise that the ship should 
be repaired before she was sent to sea, which promise was 
afterwards disregarded. 



PRECEDENTS. 45 

We have inspectors of food ashore who seize and condemn 
meat unfit for food, and prosecute those who send it to 
market. No such inspection is employed with regard to 
seamen's provisions, and hence all unmarketable food is 
reserved for them ; and I am assured by a dockmaster in 
one of our largest ports, that though respectable ship-owners 
do not ship bad provisions, there is a minority who ship 
meat which would be condemned in any market in England. 

If a manufacturer or merchant ashore fails, the claims for 
wages of his workmen are a first charge upon his estate, and 
must be paid in full. No such provision applies to seamen, 
and I know of many cases of the greatest hardships which 
are the result. In one case known to me the crew of a ship 
returned from a very long voyage (eighteen months), when 
the ship and cargo were seized by the mortgagee, and the 
seamen, who were entitled to some ;^5o each as wages, 
were sent adrift without anything. 

In the autumn of 1870 the Privy Council issued an order 
that no sheep should be imported into English ports after 
the 30th of September or before the ist of April imless shel- 
tered from the weather on board. On March 25, 187 1, 
seven men, for refusing to proceed to sea in a ship in which 
their sleeping bunks were, as was proved, " very wet, so 
much so that they were obliged to sleep in their oilskin 
clothing,** were brought ashore^ handcuffed by the Margate 
police, and chained together on the jetty, and were followed 
by a great number of people, " many deprecating the manner 
in which they were secured," and the report adds that they 
were committed to the county gaol for twelve weeks' hard 

labour : 

<* Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves, 
For Britons never, never, never, &c., &c., &c." 

The last instance I shall cite of the care of Parliament for 
the safety of the subject's life ashore is the Building Act, 
passed August 14, 1855. 

This Act specifies with great detail the minimum strength 
of timber which shall be employed for supporting floors, 
proportioning it to the length of bearing, &c. It also pre- 



46 OUR SEAMEN. 

scribes the thickness of the walls, distinguishing dwelling- 
houses from warehouses in both cases, and varying the 
thickness of the walls as the materials used vary, making a 
distinction between stone and brick, and between rubble 
stone and hewn stone, and having regard also to the height 
of the walls ; whilst anybody may build a ship of what he 
likes, and may just put in as much or as little, as sound or 
as rotten timber, as he pleases — there is none to interfere. 

Parliament, too, looks after the safety of sight-seers, and 
when some person questioned the safety of an orchestra at 
the Agricultural Hall some time ago, the matter was heard 
before Mr. Barker, a metropolitan magistrate, who forthwith 
made an order for strengthening timber to be added, and 
Mr. Moseley, the district surveyor, was charged to see the 
work done. Again, on the occasion of the day of thanks- 
giving for the restoration to health of the Prince of Wales, 
the attention of the Home Secretary was called to the 
probable insecurity of some of the private erections made 
for persons viewing the procession, and the matter was 
attended to at once, the Metropolitan Board of Works being 
charged with the duty, in aid of the efficient discharge of 
which duty the police were ordered to assist. 

I show here a couple of openings in the Building Act to 
illustrate the very scrupulous care with which Parliament 
watches over the safety of life ashore : — 

[ i8° & 19° VICTORIiE, Cap. 122. 



Metropolitan Buildings [Schedules), 



FIRST SCHEDULE. 



PRELIMINARY. 



Structure of i. Every BuUding shall be enclosed with "Walls con- 
Buildings, stnicted of Brick, Stone, or other hard and incombustible 
Substances, and the Foundations shall rest on the solid 
Ground, or upon Concrete or upon other solid Sub- 
structure. 



PRECEDENTS. 47 

2. Every Wall constructed of Brick, Stone, or other Construction of 
similar Substances shall be properly bonded and solidly sJ^^g ^c^"*^ ' 
put together with Mortar or Cement, and no Part of such * 

Wall shall overhang any Part underneath it, and all 
Return Walls shall be properly bonded together. 

3. The Thickness of every Stone Wall in which the Extra thickness 
Beds of the Masonry are not laid horizontally shall be ?y-2f***° ^*°°* 
One Third greater than the Thickness prescribed for 

Stone Walls in the Rules herein-after contained. 

4. The Thickness of every Wall as herein-after deter- !JJ**^J"®** °^ 
mined shall be the minimum Thickness. Walls. 

5. The Height of every topmost Story shall be mea- Height of Story, 
sured from the Level of its Floor up to the under Side of 

the Tie of the Roof, or up to Half the vertical Height of 
the Rafters, when the Roof has no Tie ; and the Height 
of every other Story shall be the clear Height of such 
Story exclusive of the Thickness of the Floor. 

6. The Height of every External and Party Wall shaU Height of Ex- 
be measured from the Base of the Wall to the Level of wSls.*° ^^ 
the Top of the topmost Story. 

7. Walls are deemed to be divided into distinct Length of 
Lengths by Return Walls, and the Length of every Walls. 
WaU is measured from the Centre of one Return Wall 

to the Centre of another; provided that such Return 
Walls are External, Party, or Cross Walls of the Thick- ^ 
ness herein-after required, and bonded into the Walls so 
deemed to be divided. 

8. The Projection of the Bottom of the Footing of Footings of 
every Wall, on each Side of the Wall, shall be at least Walls. 
equal to One Half of the Thickness of the Wall at its 

Base ; and the Diminution of the Footing of every Wall 
shall be formed in regular Offsets, and the Height from 
the Bottom of such Footing to the Base of flie Wall 
shall be at the least equal to One Half of the Thickness 
of the Wall at its Base. 



PART I. 

RtjLES FOR THE WALLS OF DWELLING HOUSES. 

I. The External and Party Walls of Dwelling Houses Thickness of 
shall be made throughout the different Stories of the y^^!?.**^ 
Thickness shown in the following Table, arranged ac- houtos^ 
cording to the Heights and Len^s of the WaJls, and 
calculated for Walls u^ to One Hundred Feet in Height, 
and supposed to be built of Bricks not less than Eight 
and a Half Inches and not more than Nine and a Half 
Inches in Length, the Heights of ihe Stories being sub- 
ject to the Condition herein-after given. 



2. Table. 



I. 



m. 



Hei^t np to 
lOO Feet. 



Height up to 
90 Feet. 



Height up to 
80 Feet. 



Height up to 
70 Feet. 



Height up to 
60 Feet. 



Height up to 
50 Feet. 



Height up to 
40 Feet. 



Height up to 
30 Feet. 



Height up to 
25 Feet. 



Length up to 45 Feet. 

Two Stories, 2i| Inches 
Three Stories, 17^ 

Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 45 Feet. 

Two Stories, 2i4 Inches 
Two Stories, 17I Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 40 Feet. 

One Story, 2i| Inches. 
Two Stones, 17* Inches, 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 40 Feet. 

Two Stories, 17^ Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 30 Feet. 

One Story, 17I Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 30 Feet. 

Wall below the top- 
most Story, 13 Inches. 

Topmost Story, 8^ 
Inches. 

Remainder, 8^ Inches. 



Length up to 35 Feet. 

Wall below Two Top- 
most Stories, 13 
Inches. 

Two Topmost Stories, 
8| Inches. 

Remainder, 8^ Inches. 



Length up to 35 Feet. 

Wall below Two Top- 
most Stories, 13 
Inches. 

Two Topmost Stories, 
8| Inches. 

Remainder, 8| Inches. 



Length up to 30 Feet. 

From Base to Top of 
Wall, 8i Inches. 



Length up to 80 Feet. 

Two Stories, 26 Inches. 
Two Stories, 2ii Inches. 
Two Stories, 17^ Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 70 Feet. 

One Story, 26 Inches. 
Two Stones, 21I Inches, 
Two Stories, 17* Inches, 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 60 Feet. 

Two Stories, 21 4 Inches. 
1 wo Stories, I7f Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 55 Feet. 

One Story, 2i| Inches. 
Two Stones, 17* Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 50 Feet. 

Two Stories, 17! Inches, 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 45 Feet. 

One Story, 1 7* Inches. 
Rest of Wall below 

Topmost Story, 13 

Inches. 
Topmost Story, 8| 

Inches. 
Remainder, 8^ Inches. 



nr. 

Length unlimited. 

One Story, 30 Inches. 
Two Stories, 26 Inches. 
Two Stories, 2i4 Inches. 
Two Stories, 17I Inches. 
Remainder, 13 inches. 



Length unlimited. 

One Story, 30 Inches. 
Two Stories, 26 Inches. 
One Story, 21^ Inches. 
Two Stones, 17* Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 

One Story, 26 Inches. 
Two Stones, 21^ Inches. 
Two Stories, 17^ Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 

One Story, 26 Inches. 
Two Stones, 21^ Inches. 
One Story, 17I Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 

One Story, 21^ Inches. 
Two Stones, 17I Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 

One Story, 21^ Inches. 
One Story, 17^ Inches. 
Remainder, 13 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 

One Sto^, 17I Inches. 

Rest of Wall below Topmost St»ry, 13 Inches. 

Topmost Story, 8f Inches. 

Remainder, 8t Inches. 



Length unlimited.. 

Wall below Topmost Story, 13 Inches. 
Topmost Story, 8| Inches. 
Remainder, 8^ Inches. 



Length unlimited. 

Wall below topmost Story, 13 Inches. 
Topmost Story, 8| Inches. 
Remainder, 8^ Inches. 



PRECEDENTS. 49 

t. In using the above Table the Height of the Wkll is Explanation of 
to be reckoned on the First vertical Column on the Left' Tables. 
Hand of thelTable, and the Length of the Wall on the 
corresponding horizontal Column. The<Thickness of the 
Wall in each Story is given in Inches, and 'begins ^with 
the Wall from the Base upwards. 

4. If any External or Party Wall, measured from Qualification in 
Centre to Centre, is not more than Twenty-Five Feet xj^il^ ^^^'^^^^^ 
distant from any other External or Party Wall to which 

it is tied by theBeams of any Floor or Floors, other than 
the Ground Floor or the Floor of any Story formed in 
the Roof, the Length of such Wall is not to be taken into 
consideration, and the Thickness of the Wall will be 
found in the Second vertical Column in the above Table. 

5. If any Story exceeds in Height Sixteen Times the Condition in 
Thickness prescribed for the Walls of such Story in the respect of 
above Table, the Thickness of each External and Party ^^^"^^ V^^' 
Wall throughout such Story shall be increased to One H&glS:? ° 
Sixteenth Part of the Height of the Story ; but any such 
additional Thickness may be confined to Piers properly 
distributed, of which the .collective Widths amount to 

One Fourth Part of the" Length of the Wall. 

6. No Story, endosed with Walls, less than Thirteen Restriction in 
Inches in Thickness shall be more than Ten . Feet in case of certain : 
Height. Stories. 

7. The Thickness of any Wall of a Dwelling House, if Thickness of 
built of Materials other than - such Bricks as aforesaid, Walls built of 
shall be deemed to be sufficient if made of the Thickness ^^^"ch 
required by the above Tables, or of such less Thickness Bricks as 

as may be approved by the Metropolitan Board, with this aforesaid. 
Exception, that in the Case of Walls built of Stone in 
which the Beds of the-Masonry are not laid horizontally 
no Diminution shall be allowed in the Thickness required 
by the foregoing Rules for such last-mentioned Walls. 

8. All Buildings, except Public Buildings, and such Rule as to 

Buildings as are herein-after defined to be Buildings of ?H*^<l*g!B^"*** 

the Warehouse Class, shdl, as respects the Thickness of Bunlinw or 

their Walls, be subject to dtie Rules given for Dwelling Buildings of 

Houses. tlie Warehouse 

Class. 



PART IL 

RULES FOR THE .WALLS OF BUILDINGS OF THE WARE- 
HOUSE CLASS. ' 

I. -The Warehouse Class shall comprise all Ware- ^^^Xj,*'^^^^ 
houses, Manufactories/ Breweries, and Distilleries. Class. 



50 



OUR SEAMEN. 



Thickness at* 
Base. 



2. The External and Party Walls of Buildings of the 
Warehouse Class shall at the Base be made of the Thick- 
ness shown in the following Table, calculated for Walls 
np to One Hundred Feet in Height, and supposed to be 
built of Bricks not less than Eight and a Half Inches and 
not more than Nine and a Half Inches in Length. 



3. Table. 
I. 



n. 



III. 



rv. 



Height up to 
100 Feet. 



Height up to 
90 Feet. 



Height up to 
80 Feet. 



Height up to 
70 Feet. 



Height up tol 
60 Feet. 



Height up to 
1 50 Feet. 



Height up to 
40 Feet. 



Height up to 
30 Feet. 



Height up to 
25 Feet. 



Length up to 55 Feet. 
Base, 26 Inches. 



Length up to 60 Feet. 
Base, 26 Inches. 



Length up to 45 Feet. 
Base, 21^ Inches. 



Length up to 30 Feet. 
Base, 17^ Inches. 



Length up to 35 Feet. 
Base, 17I Inches. 



Length up to 40 Feet. 
Base, ^^\ Inches. 



Length up to 30 Feet. 
Base, 13 Inches. 

Length up to 45 Feet. 
Base, 13 Inches. 



Length up to 70 Feet. 
Base, 30 Inches. 



Length up to 70 Feet. 
Base, 30 Inches. 



Length up to 60 Feet. 
Base, 26 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 34 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 34 Inches. 



Length up to 45 Feet. 
Base, 2t| Inches. 



Length up to 50 Feet. 
Base, 21^ Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 30 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 26 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 26 Inches. 



Length up to 70 Feet. 
Base, 2i| Inches. 



Length up to 60 Feet 
Base, x^\ Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 26 Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, zi\ Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 1 7I Inches. 



Length unlimited. 
Base, 13 Inches. 



Explanation of 4. The above Table is to be used in the same manner 

Table. as the Table p)reviously given for the Walls of DweDing 

Houses, and is subject to the same Qualifications and 

Conditions respecting WaUs not more than Twenty-live 

Feet distant from each other. 



PRECEDENTS. 5» 

' 5. The Thickness of the Walls of Buildings of the Thickness at 
Warehouse Class at the Top, and for Sixteen Feet below Tojp of Walls 
the Top, shall be Thirteen Inches ; and the intermediate f "tei^^fte 
Parts of the Wall between the Base and such Sixteen Space. 
Feet below the Top shall be built solid throughout the 
Space between straight Lines drawn on each Side of the 
Wall, and joining the Thickness at the Base to the 
Thickness at Sixteen Feet below the Top as above deter- 
mined ; nevertheless in Walls not exceeding Thirty Feet 
in Height the Walls of the topmost Story may be Eight 
Inches and a Half thick. 

6. If in any Story of a Building of the Warehouse Condition n 
Class the Thickness of the Wall, as determined by the respect of 
Rules herein-before given, is less than One Fourteenth j^^ "^e^^^^' 
Part of the Height of such Story, the Thickness of the Height. 
Wall shall be increased to One Fourteenth Part of the 

Height of the Story ; but any such additional Thickness 
may be confined to Piers properly distributed, of which 
the collective Widths amount to One Fourth Part of the 
Length of the Wall. 

7. The Thickness of any Wall of a Building of the Thickness of 
Warehouse Class, if built of Materials other than such WaUs built of 
Bricks as aforesaid, shall be deemed to be sufficient if Ic^^^l '*"'®' 
made the Thickness required by the above Tables,, or of Bricks as 
such less Thickness as may be approved by the Metro- aforesaid.; 
politan Board, with this Exception, that in the Case of 

Walls buOt of Stone in which the Beds of the Masonry 
are not laid horizontally no Diminution shall be allowed 
in the Thickness required by the foregoing Rules for 
such last-mentioned Walls. ] 

No means are neglected by Parliamenit to provide for the 
safety of life ashore^ and yet, as I said before, you may 
build a ship in any way you please — ^you may use timber 
utterly unfit, you may use it in quantity utterly inadequate, 
but no one has any authority whatever to interfere with 
you. 

You may even buy an old ship 250 tons burden by 
auction for ^^50, sold to be broken up because extremely 
old and rotten ; she had had a narrow escape on her last 
voyage, and had suffered so severely that she was quite 
unfit to go to sea again without more being spent in repairs 
upon her than she would be worth when done. 

Instead of breaking up this old ship, bought for 4r. per 
ton (the cost of a new ship being ;^io to ;^i4 per ton), aa 



St OUR SEAMEN. 

was expected, you may give her a coat of paint — she is too 
rotten for caulking — and, to the dismay of her late owners, 
you may prepare to send her to sea. You may be remon- 
strated with twice, in the strongest terms, against doing so, 
even to being told that if you persist, and the men are lost, 
you deserve to be tried for manslaughter. 

You may then engage men in another port, and they, 
having signed articles without seeing the ship, you may send 
them to the port where the ship lies, in the custody of a 
runner. You may then (after re-christening the ship, which 
ought not to be allowed), if you have managed to insiu^e her 
heavily, load her until her main-deek is within two feet of 
the water amidships, and send her to sea. Nobody can 
prevent you. Nay, more, if the men become restive you 
may arrest them, without a magistrate's warrant, and take 
them to prison, and the magistrates (who have no choice, 
they have not to make but only to administer the law) will 
commit them to prison for twelve weeks with hard labour ; 
or, better still for you, you may send for a policeman on 
board to overawe the mutineers, and induce them to do 
their duty ! And then, if the ship is lost with all hands, you 
will gain a large sum of money, and you will be asked no 
questions, as no inquiry even will ever be held over the 
unfortunate men, unless (which has only happened o^ce, I 
think) some member of the House asks for inquiry. 

The river policeman who in one- case threatened with 
imprisonment a refractory crew, and urged them to do their 
duty ! ! told me afterwards (when they were all drowned) 
that he and his colleague at the river-side station had spoken 
to each other about the ship being dreadfully overloaded, as 
she passed their station on the river, before he went on 
board to urge duty ! and that he then, when he saw me, 
" rued badly that he hadn't locked *em up, without talk, as 
then they wouldn't have been drowned." 

The fact is, that before insurance became general, there 
was no need of legislation ; and now a new state of things 
has arisen, which the law has not yet provided for. 



PRECEDENTS. 53 

But besides the ample powers given in the Act of 1855, 
as to the materials to be used in building a house or ware- 
house, and which the quotation shows fully, Parliament 
also conferred power on the surveyors to give notice to the 
owner of any house, dwelling-house,, .warehouse, factory, or 
other building, if he found it to be in an unsatisfactory state, 
and order that such and such a wall must be pulled down 
and rebuilt, and in cases where he deemed the whole struc- 
ture unsafe, he might order it forthwith to be pulled down ; 
and that this power is used vigorously and well J have had 
ample means of knowing, for I some few years ago bought 
a great number of houses, near the Elephant and Castle, in 
London, for the purpose of pulling down some of thenL- 
The others were not wanted, and were allowed to remain ; 
and it is with respect to these I speak. In a comparatively 
short time after the purchase I received several notices, some 
that such a gable was out of the perpendicular, others that 
a front wall was in a similar condition : in two other cases 
the notice was to pull down altogether, all of which was 
done. I show three of the notices : — 

[Notice of Works. 

Form No. 6. Registered No, 541. 

1287 

iiattropolitan 3i3oatb of iSKotfiii.. 



Metropolitan Building Acty 1.869., 



DANGEROUS STRUCTURES. 



TO the Owner and Occupier of the Structure known as No. 6, 
Arch Street {flank wall), in the Parish of St. Mary, Newington, and 
County of Surrey. 

The METROPOLITAN BOARD OF WORKS, acting in the 
execution of the Metropolitan Building Act, 1869, having received 
information that the above-named Structure is in a dangerous state, 
and having required a survey thereof to be made by a competent Sur- 
veyor, and having had his opinion certified to them to the effect that 



54 OUR SEAMEN. 

the said Structure is in a dangerous state : DO, by this writing, give 
you Notice, and require you forthwith to take dcwn the said flank wall 
where bulged or defective. 

Metropolitan Board of Works, GEORGE VULLIAMY, 

Spring Gardens J Superintending Architect. 

19/A day of January f 1 8 70. 

N.B. This Notice does not supersede the necessity of your giving 
the usual Notice to the District Surveyor two days before commencing 
the work of rebuilding, &c., agreeably to 38 Sect. 18 & 19 Vict. Cap. 
122, Part I. 

Such Fee in respect of the Survey of the above Structure as may be 
directed by the Metropolitan Board of Works, or other expenses (if 
any) incurred by the said Board, is to be paid by the Owner (as de- 
fined by tiie Act) of the said Structure to the Cashier of the Board, at 
the Offices of the Board, Spring Gardens. Such Fee is distinct from 
any fees payable to the District Surveyor, ] 



[Notice of Works. 

Form No. 6. Registered No, 542, 

1288 



Metropolitan Building Act, 1869. 



DANGEROUS STRUCTURES. 



TO the Owner and Occupier of the Structure known as No. 7, 
Meadow Row {flank wall)^ New Kent Road^ in the Parish of St. 
Mary, Newington, and County of Surrey, 

The METROPOLITAN BOARD OF WORKS, acting in the 
execution of the Metropolitan Building Act, 1869, having received 
information that the above-named Structure is in a dangerous state, 
and having required a survey thereof to be made by a competent Sur- 
veyor, and having had his opinion certified to them to the effect that 
the said Structure is in a dangerous state : DO, by this writing, give 
you Notice, and require you forthwith, to take down the said flank 
wall (late party wall). 

Metropolitan Board of Works, GEORGE VULLIAMY, 

Spring Gardens, Superintending Architect 

\^h day of January, 1870. 



PRECEDENTS, 55 

N.B. This Notice does not supersede the necessity of your giving 
the usual Notice to the District Surveyor two days before commencing 
the work of rebuilding, &c., agreeably to 38 Sect. 18 & 19 Vict. Cap. 
122, Part I. 

Such Fee in respect of the Survey of the above Structure as may be 
directed by the Metropolitan Board of Works, or other expenses (if 
any) incurred by the said Board, is to be paid by the Owner (as de- 
fined by the Act) of the said Structure to the Cashier of the Board, at 
the Offices of the Board, Spring Gardens. Such Fee is distinct from 
any fees payable to the District Surveyor. ] 



[Notice of Works. 

Form No. 6. Registered No, 311. 

iWttropoUtan JSoattt t>f aSKotifes* 



Metropolitan Building Act, 1869. 



DANGEROUS STRUCTURES. 



TO the Owner and Occupier of the Structure known as a house at 
the comer of Meadow Row and Rockingham Street, in the Parish of 
St, Mary, riewington, and County of Surrey, 

The METROPOLITAN BOARD OF WORKS, acting in the 
execution of the Metropolitan Building Act, 1869, having received 
information that the above-named Structure is in a dangerous state, 
and having required a survey thereof to be made by a competent Sur- 
veyor, and having had his opinion certified to them to the effect that 
the said Structure is in a dangerous state : DO, by this writing, give 
you Notice, and require you forthwith, to remove the said building. 

Metropolitan Board of Works, GEORGE VULLIAMY, 

Spring Gardens, Superintending Architect, 

J 1st day of January, i^'jo. 



N.B. This Notice does not supersede the necessity of your giving 
the usual Notice to the District Surveyor two days before commencing 
the work of rebuilding, &c., agreeably to 38 Sect. 18 & 19 Vict. Cap. 
122, Part I. 

Such Fee in respect of the Survey of the above Structure as may be 
directed by the Metropolitan Board of Works, or other expenses (if 
any) incurred by the said Board, is to be paid by the Owner (as de- 
fined by the Act) of the said Structure to the Casmer of the Board, at 
the Offices of the Board, Spring Gardens. Such Fee is distinct from 
any fees payable to the Disttict Surveyor. ] 



56 OUR SEAMEN. 

I don't complain of this, I think it a good thing that 
unsafe structures should be made secure, and when needful 
pulled down ; but is it not wonderful that while all this 
power should be given (and wisely given), and vigorously 
and beneficially exercised, in the case of buildings when the 
safety of a . few is concerned, and those not in imminent 
danger, that there should, as was stated in evidence recently, 
not be any legal power whatever to prevent a vessel going 
to sea, no matter what condition she .was in ? * 

A still stronger precedent, however, may be cited. It is 
this : — That whilst it is all true which I have stated of mer- 
chant ships, every word of it, it is not the case with pas- 
senger ships. They are, and have been for years, surveyed 
by officers appointed by the Board of Trade at the cost of 
the Government. They are so surveyed twice in every 
year. What I want, and what I greatly wonder the work- 
ing classes have not long ago demanded, is that the same 
measures of safety be employed when members of their 
order are concerned, as are deemed needful, and employed, 
in the case of those who are above them. 

Clearly there is no lack of precedent. 

What, then, is the extent '^of the evil you are now asked 
to aid in remedying ? This is soon shown. I show you in the 
Frontispiece a lithograph of the wreck chart published by 
the Board of Trade for the year ending December, 1871. 

Here I give the number of lives lost on the English coast 
within ten miles for the last eleven years : — 



Lives lost in 1 86 1 . 


. 884 


Lives lost in 1867 


• i>333 


„ 1862 . 


► 690 


1868 


. 824 


1863 


. 620 


„ 1869 


• 933 


„ 1864 


. 516 


„ 1870 


. 774 


1865 . 


. 698 


„ 1871 


. 626 


1866 


. 896 







* This was literally true last year, and is substantially true now, the 
qualification being, that in the Act passed last year on the withdrawal 
of my bill, a sailor is empowered to demand a survey, and if the 
vessel is found unseaworthy^ she may be detained ; but the sailor, if a 
surveyor report that in his opinion the ship is seaworthy, is to pay 
all the costs ! And the captain is especially empowered to stop them 
out of his wages ! What a mockery, what trifling is this i 



UNDERMANNING, 57 

You will see that there is a considerable reduction in the 
figures for the past two years. Whether this is owing to 
exceptional weather or not, I am not competent to say, 
or whether it is owing in part to the attention called to the 
subject in Parliament by the bill I then introduced, and the 
vigorous denunciations of prevalent practices which issued 
from all parts of the House, and which that year resulted in 
the measure introduced by Government on the withdrawal 
of mine, I cannot say. 

Suppose the former case, better weather accounts for it. 
In that case the weather of former years may recur. 

Suppose the latter cause operated, the attention of Par- 
liament effected the change. Some will say, " How satis- 
factory T' "Let us go on as we are now — improving." I 
say. No. If the diminution is owing to the mere expression 
of opinion only in Parliament, what may be anticipated 
from legislative enactment?* 

Now, then, what are the more particular sources of all 
this loss of life ? 

In dealing with the more definite sources of preventible 
shipwreck, I will glance briefly, in the first instance, to the 
less important ones, and then take overloading and neglect 
of repairs. 

Amongst causes of less frequent disaster at sea, the 
practice of sending a ship on her voyage with too small a 
number of men to manage the vessel properly or efficiently 
in bad weather is one. There may be men enough to 
handle her in fair weather; but when bad weather comes 
on, especially if it comes abruptly, they are too few for the 
work, and many valuable lives are sometimes lost owing to 
this cause. 

I know one ship-owner who has so high an opinion of the 
efficiency of an able-bodied English sailor, that he occasionally 



* It must be borne in mind that losses in the open sea are not in- 
cluded in the figures I have given. There is besides these an enormous 
loss of life at sea; in the present month (January, 1873) no less than 
twelve grain-laden steamers are reported missing. 



58 OUR SEAMEN. 

sends his ships to sea with a surprisingly small number of 
them on board. On an occasion I was informed of, he 
sent a full-rigged ship to a port in the Baltic with eleven 
men only on board. Now, a full-rigged ship has three masts, 
and they all carry square sails, as they are called to dis- 
tinguish them from the fore-and-aft canvas carried by a 
barque on her mizen-mast, and by brigantines and schooners. 

When it is considered that to trim any one sail — that is, 
to place it at a different angle to the wind which is blowing 
— many ropes have to be manipulated, and that until all 
the sails are so adjusted the ship is in a sort of transitional 
position, what chance, I ask, is there that eleven men could 
handle the ship with eflfect, either to tack, wear, or shorten 
sail? 

I know also of another case, where a steamship of 1,500 
tons was sent from Liverpool on a voyage to the^East with 
only eight deck hands aboard. Here, too, the number of 
men was fearfully inadequate to meet probable contingencies. 

Now, I do not recommend at present the adoption of 
any inelastic rule to regulate numbers of hands to tonnage ; 
because it would doubtless be found that a crew which 
would be barely sufficient for one vessel might be more than 
enough for another vessel of similar tonnage, but which was 
better equipped in other respects, or of different rig. All 
that seems to me needful in this case is that all masters and 
captains should in future make a return of the number of 
men and boys under eighteen on board at the time of sail- 
ing, together with the tonnage of their vessels. By this 
means very ^valuable information would be accumulated 
of the numbers usually employed by careful ship-owners, 
and probably, in cases like those I have quoted, a quiet 
note from the Board of Trade would be found sufficient to 
prevent a recurrence of such reprehensible recklessness. 

Bad stowage is another source of loss sometimes. By 
bad stowage is meant that the cargo, perhaps a mixed one, 
is so put on board that the centre of gravity of the entire 
bulk — ship and cargo — is too much or too little below the 



BAD STOWAGE. 59 

meta-centre, or centre of displacement round which a vessel 
moves in rolling. 

If the ship is loaded with dead weight — say iron or pre — 
if care is not taken to put something between it and the 
floor of the hold, the centre of gravity will be too low down 
in the ship — too far below the centre of displacement. In 
that case she would be what is technically called too " stiff" 
— her sides would offer too stubborn a resistance to the 
shock of a wave, and the ship would be greatly strained, 
and after heeling over a little under a blow, the weight of 
cargo being too low in her, she would recover her per- 
pendicular with such an abruptness, with such a shock, as 
would tend to almost shake her masts out of her. 

If the centre of gravity of the load were higher up, she 
would yield to the blow, and heel over until it passed, and 
would then roll easily back again, without subjecting either 
frame or masts to any violent strain. 

If, however, the centre of the weight were too high up, 
that is, too near the centre of displacement, she would roll 
too easily, and consequently too much ; she would now be 
called too " crank " for safety, because in extreme instances 
she would roll over altogether, and founder. This result is 
often occasioned by the desperately dangerous practice of 
deck-loading, a practice which ought to be altogether pro- 
hibited from January i to March 31, and from October i 
to December 31 in each year, and only permitted in summer 
by special license, as the cargo so loaded not only tends to 
make her top-heav}' (too crank), but greatly impedes the 
seamen in handling the ship. 

In shipping mixed cargoes, then, care and judgment are 
required to so arrange the weight that she shall be neither 
too " stiff"" nor too " crank." . 

This is frequently difficult to manage, for it is not as 
though all the freight destined to form her cargo were along- 
side at the outset of loading — then it would be easy enough; 
but the wrong goods come first, it may be, and must be 
stowed as they come, and although it is easy to ascertain 



6o OUR SEAMEN. 

her state after loading, it is not so easy so to load such a 
ship as that she shall be just as one could desire. 

There is another cause of disaster which I must include 
here, as it is one which is responsible for very many of our 
most heavy losses — foundering at sea — I mean inadequate 
engine-power. Many, very many of our cargo-carrying 
steamers are far too weak in engine-power ; they have just 
sufficient power to make, when heavily loaded, headway 
across the water, and when rough weather occurs, they are 
entirely helpless. As this, however, is one of the matters 
which a commission only can fully ascertain and deal with, 
I content myself with enumerating it merely. 

Over-insurance is another of the sometimes sources of 
danger ; and that this arises, and can only arise, from down- 
right wickedness, no one can fail to perceive. A man has 
property in risk ; he wishes to insure himself against that 
risk — so long as he is fully indemnified by underwriters of 
responsibility, the less money he can obtain this security for 
the better. 

Yet we hear of instances continually where a man induces 
the underwriter, by falsehood and fraud, to take some hun- 
dreds of pounds of his money per annum from him more 
than is necessary to fully insure him against the utmost 
possible amount of his loss in- the event of shipwreck. Now, 
a man in business who lays out money^ does so with the 
expectation of getting it backy and with a profit ; but in this 
case he cannot get a profit — he cannot even get his bare 
outlay again, or any equivalent for it, except in the event 
which it is an insult to any one's judgment and common sense 
to ask them to believe he did not actually take measures to 
bring about — that is, the wreck of his ship. 

Why, even reading the newspapers only, sufficient comes 
to light at intervals to show what results from the right to 
insure or over-insure to any amount. 

A case came before the Lord Mayor of London, some 
time ago, where a man, having been detected, was accused 
of endeavouring to compass the loss of his ship, and he 



OVER'INSURAKCE. 6i 

confessed that, although he had insured his vessel for 
^£"1,000, it had only cost him £^2fio \ 

Another case was heard before the magistrates at North 
Shields of a similar nature. The owner was charged with 
trying to bring about the loss of his ship. In this case it 
was shown (and he indeed confessed) that, although he did 
not think the vessel would sell for ;£^4oo, he had eififected 
an insurance upon her for ;^8oo. 

One more case must suffice, and then I shall proceed to 
the next topic. It should be premised that when a mer- 
chant vessel is lost at sea, even with all hands, no inquiry at 
all is ever made into the circumstances. In this instance, 
however, on the motion of a member in the House, an 
inquiry (the first of the kind) was instituted. 

I will place before you that part of the evidence of the 
owner himself which related to insurance, and then show 
you a paper given me by the gentleman whose name it 
bears. 

" Mr. , the witness in question, was then cross- 
examined by Mr. v O'Dowd, and said that he was joint 

owner of the with Mr. ^ and the ship was 

bought by them of its late owners for ;£'7,5oo. 

"They paid down ;^ 1,000 *in signing the* contract, and 
;^i,5oo more before the ship proceeded to sea." 

Now read this : — 

June 10, 1870, 

"The was insured this day for twelve months, 

was valued at ;£| 3,000 ! the premium of insurance being 
eight guineas per cent. ! 

(Signed) "W. M. F G.^' 

Here you see the owners make a declaration that the 
ship was worth ;£i3,ooo, they having only given ;£^7,5oo, 
and they actually succeeded in insuring her for ;^ 10,000, so 
securing ;£^2,soo in excess of their real. loss when the ship 
sank, as she shortly afterwards did, with every soul on 



62 . OUR SEAMEN, 

board; twenty good, decent, respectable men, as I can 
personally testify, at least as to several of them, went down 
in her. 

I urge, therefore, that in no case should a ship-owner be 
allowed to insure his ship for more than two-thirds of its 
value, properly ascertained. A certain sum per ton mea- 
surement should only be allowed, and this should vary with 
her class, her age, and other considerations. There would 
be no difficulty in tabulating a scale by the Board of Trade, 
and you will be of that opinion after seeing the careful 
tables respecting buildings I have shown in an earlier part 
of this letter. 

I know it will be represented by some that it would be 
a hardship to prevent a man from fully securing himself 
against loss. My answer is, " You ask us to entrust twenty, 
twenty-five, or thirty precious lives on board your ship. 
The state of that ship depends solely on you. You only 
have authority to care for her safety ; we must, therefore, 
take hostages from you, that when you take twenty ^or more 
human lives on board, no reasonable means of safety shall 
be neglected, and if you are too poor to run this risk of 
one-third, you have no business to be a ship-owner at all, 
considering how many lives are placed in your hands." 

Defective construction next claims a few words. 

There is, I fear, great reason to think that ships are occa- 
sionally lost from the very imperfect manner in which some 
of them are built ; in some cases I think you will see that 
something much worse ought to be said. I don*t say the 
cases are many ; still, they exist,, and we have done nothing 
to prevent it. 

The first time I introduced a bill to prevent overloading, 
I alluded (mentioning no names) to the case of one ship- 
owner who, trading to the West Indies for sugar (a good 
voyage, deep water and plenty of sea-room all the way), had, 
Out of a fleet of twenty-one vessels, lost no less than ten of 
them in less than three years ! 

After I had concluded my speech in moving the second 



DEFECTIVE CONSTRUCTION. 63 

reading, a member accosted me in the lobby and said, 
"Mr. Plimsoll, you were mistaken in that statement of 
yours." — " What statement ? " I answered. — " Oh ! that 
where you said a ship-owner had lost ten ships in less than 
three years from overloading." — " I mentioned no names," 
I said. — " No ; but I know who you meant ; it was Mr. 

, of . He is one of my constituents, and a very 

respectable man indeed. It is not his fault, it is the fault 
of the man who built his ships, for one of them was surveyed 
in London, and was found to be put together with devils. 

Mr. knew nothing about it, I assure you." — 

"Devils?" I said. — "Yes." — "-I don't know what you 
mean." — "Oh, devils are sham bolts, you know; that is, 
when they ought to be copper, the head and about an inch 
of the shaft are of copper, and the rest is iron." 

I have since found there are other and different sham 
bolts used, where merely a bolt-head without any shaft at 
all is driven in, and only as many real bolts used as will 
keep the timbers in their places. 

Now these bolts are used to go through the outside 
planking, the upright timber rib, and the inner planking 
(ceiling) of a ship, and through the vertical or drooping 
part of a piece of timber or iron called a knee, on the upper 
part of which the deck-beams rest, and to which the deck- 
beams are also bolted from above. These bolts are there- 
fore from thirteen to eighteen inches in length. 

Well, I did not see at the time why an iron bolt should 
not do as well as a copper one ; it only looked like cheat- 
ing the buyer of the ship. But some time after, in the 
course of my inquiries^ I was shown some specimens of iron 
taken out of a ship, which were eaten away in the strangest 
manner. Strong plates looked much as though they had 
been cakes of glue, and boiling water had been poured 
upon them from a kettle. The iron was wholly eaten away 
in many large places ; the indented edges of the remainder 
were thin as a sixpence ; and, strangest of all, much of what 
was left was neither more nor less than plumbago ! — simply 



64 OUR SEAMEN. 

blacklead ! ! — ^which you could write with on paper, and 
break quite easily with your hand. 

The conversion is the result of chemical action. The 
sugar, combined with the acid of the timber, and assisted by 
the bilgewater, changes iron into — ^blacklead ! 

Now, indeed, the iron devils, which a member of the 
House of Commons told me in excuse for his constituent, the 
owner, had been put into ships by the builder, seemed 
another and very different thing. 

What is to happen to such a. ship when the acid has 
done its work, its strength turned ito rottenness? What 
is to hinder her, the heads of the bolts eaten ofif, when 
labouring in a heavy sea, from opening her sides, from 
falling abroad, and with destruction so sudden that there 
is no time even to get out the boats? This letter, which 
refers to this case, and which came into my possession shortly 
after, gives an awful, I might say a lurid reply. 



[ (Copy,) 

To , London. Aprils 1870. 

Dear Sir, 

I beg to acknowledge receipt of yoar letter of the 12th.' inst. 

I have seen Captain upon the subject of your letter, and am 

informed by hira that from what he has seen of Mr, 's vessels, he 

considers that, with the exception of some iron ships lately built at 

and , they are all of an mferior class, badly built by of . 

They are constantly under weigh, without examination of any kind, 
either of hull, sails, spars, or rigging — that is, they arrive with cargoes 
of sugar, are discharged, and sent away again laden with coals and 
iron, without receiving even necessary repairs, within a few days. 

Captain can only judge from outward appearance, not being 

allowed by Mr. to go on board. 

Mr. , of the Underwriters* Association, entirely confirms 

the above, and informs me that underwriters wfll not insure either 

vessels or cargoes, in consequence of their being badly built and ill- 
found, except in special cases> where the risk is good.. Insurances are 
therefore effected in. London, where they are not so well known. 

It is generally believed that^Mr. and Mr. had some private 

arrangement between them in the building of the vessels. Mr. 

does not bear a good character as a builder. 

The fleet numbered in 1866-67, 21 vessels; in 1 807-68, 17 vessels; 
and at the present time: 21 vessels. 



DEFECTIVE CONSTRUCTION. 



6S 



Present Fleet. 



B- 
B- 

c 
c- 



^n 

s 

— n 
o 

N a 

-k 
-a 



G- 
G- 
C- 
I- 



K- 

S- 



M s 

M e 

M a 

M a 



Q e 

O a 

S e 



T- 
T- 
Z- 



« 

« 



Vessels Lost since 1866-67. 

B y . . . .Never heard of. 

C ^n .... Never heard of. 

I ^n .... Wrecked. 

O a. . . . Wrecked. 

C — — n . . . .Never heard of. 

A n .... Never heard of. 

A h .... Never heard of. 

—n.... Burnt 
— e. . ..Wrecked. 



B- 
B- 
T- 



-d. . . .Abandoned. 



* These were replaced by others of same 
name. 



I remain, dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 



] 



Ten ships lost in three years ! Five — one, two, three, 
fouiy^ve/ / — so utterly that not a soul on board escaped to 
tell the tale ! What horror is there in those three brief 

words, — "Never heard of " "Never heard of 

" Fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, all sacrificed 



to greed of gain, sent to their long account in a moment ! 

I am compelled to suppress the indignant horror this 
case excites, or I could not go on with my task; but 
how I should like that William Overend, Q.C., who 
wrenched the guilty knowledge out of Broadhead and 

Allen in Sheffield so inflexibly, had Mr. , the owner, 

and Mr. , the builder, under examination. How I 

should like to hear him demand of the owner the cost 
of each ship, and the sum for which each was insured ; — 
to hear him demand of the builder how many of these 
devils were put into these ships. But 1 must not lose 
sight of my proper object in indignation. It is to save 
life, not to ruin reputations, — to preserve the homes of 



66 OUR SEAMEN, 

the poor from desolation, not to send disgrace into the 
homes of the rich. In a word, it is to reform a system, 
and not to seek a punishment of individuals, however richly 
merited, that I write to you. 

The fault after all is ours. We had no right, knowing 
what human nature is, to leave such temptations, such 
powers, without safeguard or check. 

To proceed, however. There are not only the dangers 
arising from faulty construction, but a new danger has 
recently arisen — arisen in this way. About twelve or more 
years ago, it was found that by having steamers made very 
much longer than was usual, very little, if anything, was 
added to the cost of working a vessel, whilst the additional 
space being all available for cargo (instead of being in great 
part occupied by machinery and fuel), double the quantity 
of cargo could be taken aboard, and without doubling the 
length of the ship. When iron steamers were first built, they 
were constructed five and sometimes six times as long as 
they were broad, and seven^breadths in length was considered 
extraordinary. 

Some years afterwards it was determined to build them 
longer, and gradually seven and eight breadths were taken, 
and then nine, and nine and a half breadths were taken as 
the measure of length, and these were found to carry exactly 
double the cargo of the others, and at the same speed, and 
very little more expense — no more, if they were carefully 
kept clean outside the hull. 

A firm I could name went faster than all others in thus 
extending the length, for it was found that a ship which had 
been built seven breadths long, on having two and a half 
breadths more added to her length, carried twice as much 
as she could before ; and so gradually steamers were built 
longer, until ten and ten and a half breadths is now no 
uncommon length, and there are ships T can name now 
which are sixteen times longer than their depth — that is, 
from the top of the main-deck beams to the keel. 



IMPROPER LENGTHENING, 67 

Last week, the third week. in December, 1872, there was 
an account of the loss of a large steamer and. a great number 
of lives (thirty), which was more than seventeen times as 
long as she was deep ! The depth is {cceteris paribus) the 
measure of her strength to resist a vertical strain, as the 
breadth of beam is the measure of her strength to resist a 
side blow. 

It would be more than I am able to say, lacking the 
special knowledge to enable me to form an opinion, that 
vessels cannot be constructed strongly enough even of these 
dimensions ; but many shipbuilders are of opinion that we 
have exceeded the limits of safety. 

But whilst I leave this an open question, there can be no 
manner of doubt but that a ship originally constructed of a 
much shorter length would have to be lengthened, if 
lengthened she must be, with very great and most careful 
precautions. 

Now what is the case ? Of course, it was not to be thought 
of, that the owners of the longer ships should be left in 
quiet possession of the enormously greater profit these longer 
ships made for them, by the owners of shorter ones, and the 
shorter ones were rapidly cut in two, and lengthened amid- 
ships ; when this was done under proper supervision there 
was perhaps nothing much to complain of, but as there is 
no law on the subject, great numbers of them were length- 
ened in such a manner as to make their foundering at sea 
only a question of time. I will give one instance. The 

steam-ship came into the possession of a very young 

man, without any knowledge of shipbuilding, and he desired 
to lengthen her fifty feet. He was strongly urged not to do 
so, as she would not be seaworthy. He was headstrong 
and insisted. Then he was urged to strengthen her by ad- 
ditional bulkheads, extra knees, and doubling several of the 
rows of plates outside. He again refused, and as no one 
could interfere, he had fifty feet put into her amidships, on 
the same scantling as the rest, nothing more ; and she is 



68 OUR SEAMEN. 

now leaking like a basket, and I have added her name to 
my list of ships that I expect to founder. 

I may add that one ship of that list has foundered this 
month (January, 1873), with an unusually large number of 
men, who were all lost ; and as she did not carry passengers, 
no inquiry will ever be made, of course. 

Now that young man can send the crew of that ship to 
prison if they, after engaging, refuse to sail in her ; but they 
are not likely to refuse, for how are poor men to judge 
whether a newly-altered ship is seaworthy or not? And 
they very likely suppose that having been done recently she 
is all right — it will probably never occur to their minds that 
the English Government (so careful of the subject's life 
ashore, and even of their comfort) are so almost incredibly 
indifferent to the lives of sailors that, as a well qualified 
witness recently testified, " There is no legal power whatever 
to prevent a ship from going to sea, no matter what condi- 
tion she is in ; " and that there is absolutely no restriction, 
no rules whatever, imposed on any one who chooses to build 
a ship ; he may do it just how he likes. 

That young man may also send by the action of the Libel 
Law a good-hearted and most estiinable gentleman to gaol 
for a long period if he venture to criticise his conduct too 
plainly, and therefore I refer to the case in general terms at 
the express request of my informant. A gentleman deserv- 
edly held in high public estimation was recently sentenced 
to a long term of imprisonment for libel, at the suit of a 
person of whose doings I shall have something to say if you 
help me to induce the Government to consent to the -issue 
of a Royal Commission. I will content myself by saying 
here that there are gentlemen of high character in Cardiff, 
Newcastle, Greenock, Port-Glasgow (and the neighbour- 
hood), London, Sunderland, Hull, Liverpool, and other 
places, who are longing for the opportunity of telling a 
Royal Commission what they know, but whose lips are now 
sealed by the terrible Law of Libel, and when that Commis- 
sion (if granted by the Government) reports, they will dis- 



IMPROPER LENGTHENING, 69 

close a state of things wholly disgraceful, shameful, and 
afflicting. 

As it is extremely desirable that my statements should be 
vouched by higher authority than mine, and as the matter is 
one of such transcendent importance, I make this public 
appeal to the Right Hon. G. J. Goschen, First Lord of the 
Admiralty, as to whether I have not correctly described the 
position of underwriters in this matter ; to Sir James Elphin- 
stone, M.P. for Portsmouth, as to what he thinks of sending 
a spar-decked ship so loaded with iron that her main-deck 
was two feet ten inches under water, into the extreme east 
of the Baltic in November, and what he thinks of eleven 
men for a full-rigged ship ; to J. D'Aguilar Samuda, Esq., 
M.P., and to Mr. Laird, M.P., as to whether it is not the 
fact that there are scores of vessels afloat and many steamers 
building, of such material, such dimensions, and such scant- 
ling, that no sane man, who understood these things, would 
trust his life in ; and to any lawyer, as to whether I have 
not correctly described the law of the matter. I appeal to 
all these to state at their early convenience in the Times 
whether or no my statements are correct. 

Now one can scarcely think it possible to lengthen a 
steamer considerably, however well it might be done, and 
still to have her as strong as if she had originally been built 
of the greater lengtii, for in that case the naval architect 
would have adapted all the parts in their proper proportions 
to the greater length. 

But still if steamers were lengthened carefully, and under 
proper supervision, no doubt they might still be good sea- 
boats. Many were lengthened with all the care that could 
be wished, but as no ship-owner is under any rules or restric- 
tions whatever, many were simply lengthened with materials 
and dimensions like those in the original structure, and were 
consequently much weaker than when originally designed. 
This, too, has been a source of greater loss of life than is 
generally supposed. 

I know of one steam-ship which the owners desired to 



70 OUR SEAMEN. 

lengthen ; they consulted a naval architect on the matter. 
He surveyed the ship, and reported that in his judgment 
she might be safely lengthened, if an additional iron bulk- 
head was put into her, and four pairs of additional knees, 
and if four rows or streaks of her outside plating were 
doubled across the added portion, such doubling to be 
continued over the severed portions nearly to her bows and 
stem. 

Well, the owners begrudged the cost of this, and as there 
is no superior authority whatever, they disregarded his 
advice, and lengthened her without adding the bulkhead ; 
with only two pairs of additional knees, and instead of 
doubling four rows of plates outside nearly from stem to 
stem, they only doubled two, and only carried the doubling 
a few feet fore and aft beyond the added portion. The 
naval architect consulted told me she might, if lucky, go 
many voyages in safety, but that she was greatly weaker 
than before, and that she would fare badly, and would pro- 
bably be lost, in weather which, had she been properly 
lengthened, she could easily have pulled through, and that 
if she stmck on a rock at any time she would break up 
like earthenware, and give no time for boats to be got out 
or anything else. 

Only on Monday, December 2nd, 1872, 1 read an account 
of the loss of a large steamer, which stated that she had 
stmck on a rock, broken in two, and gone down with all on 
board, as there was no time to get out the boats. 

Now (but I speak this with deference to higher authority) 
it seems to me that no steamer, properly constmcted of good 
iron or steel, would break in two like this ; at all events, I 
well remember the stem of an iron steamer (built in Sweden) 
being shown in the Great Exhibition of 1862, which steamer 
had stmck on a rock with such force that her stem was, so 
to speak, cmshed up and backwards in three folds, showing 
the tremendous force with which she had stmck ; yet she 
did not even spring a leak, and when the bows were 
afterwards cut away to be replaced, the portion cut away 



IMPROPER LENGTHENING. 71 

was sent to the Great Exhibition to show how good the 
iron was. 

I also remember seeing a steamer which rested loaded on 
the sill of a dock about midships ; her keel and keelson 
were bent upwards, and her mainmast lifted two feet out of 
her, yet she sustained no further damage, and was unloaded 
and the injured parts replaced, and she is now a good ship. 

On one occasion I was myself on board a large passenger 
steamer from Ireland, which struck on the back of the Isle 
of Wight in a fog, and I shall not readily forget the horrible 
grating of her keel and the sudden stoppage which woke me 
up ; but though she remained a fixture for twelve hours, and 
could only be got off by lightening her of a great part of her 
cargo, and then only by the aid of two steamers and her 
own engines, she had sustained very little damage, showing 
she was a good strong ship. 

The fact is, there is a good deal of cheap, bad work done 
in iron ship-building, by persons, too, whose names I can 
furnish at a proper opportunity. 

But all these sources of occasional loss require carefully 
to be considered by competent men possessing special 
knowledge, and are such that I cannot ask you to pronounce 
upon them as to what remedies shall be applied. Excepting 
in so far a& this, I think you are capable of forming an 
opinion upon the homicidal practice of over-insurance, and 
you can safely and with propriety say that no. ship-owner 
ought to be allowed to insure for more than two-thirds of 
the value of his ship. You can also express a good opinion 
as to the propriety of requiring a return from all captains of 
the number of men on board on leaving port. 

But if it requires special and. professional knowledge to 
deal with the causes of disaster I have been examining, there 
is no man of intelligence in the kingdom who is unable to 
pronounce emphatically and decisively upon the two remain- 
ing causes of preventible wreck ; and, happily for the sailors, 
they are the admitted sources of more than half our annual 
loss of life. I say happily^ because these causes admit of 



71 OUR SEAMEN. 

immediate remedy. The Board of Trade say in their report 
that ** if the figures be examined, it will be found that about 
half of the total loss on the coast is to be attributed to over- 
loaded and unseaworthy vessels of the collier dass. For 
the nine years ending in 187 1 this loss is rather more than 
half." Now consider, with the information I have given 
you of the care of Government in other directions, do you not 
feel justified in asserting emphatically that no vessel needing 
repairs should be allowed to go to sea until those repairs 
were properly executed? do you not fed equally able to 
say that no vessel should be allowed to be dangerously 
overloaded ? 

I repeat. Can any valid reason be given against the quali- 
fication of any landsman to say, that ships needing repair 
shall be repaired, and that ships shall not be over- 
loaded ? 

I might well rest the case as to overloading u^on the state- 
ment of the Board of Trade, that more than half our losses 
for nine years (six years before 1868, and three since) were 
owing to unseaworthy and overloaded ships ; but I will 
give you one or two -cases which came within my own 
knowledge : — 

There was one ship-owner whose name was often men- 
tioned to me in the course of the years 1869 and 1870. 
During my inquiries in the north and east, I heard his name 
wherever I went as that of a ship-owner who was notorious 
for the practice of overloading and for a reckless disregard 
of human life. I therefore made inquiry as to the ships 
belonging to him which had been lost, with the number of 
lives lost in each case, and the reply I received I will show 
you. It is incomplete, you see ; but sufficient is shown to 
demonstrate the necessity of Government interference. 



[ (Copy.) 

20th February f 1 87 1. 
My Dear Sir, 

Annexed I forward a more complete list of Mr. 's losses, 

together with the number of lives sacrificed. I think I shall be able to 



OVERLOADING. 73 

send you a further list of sailing vessels, but a melancholy list of 105 
lives lost wiU be almost enough evidence to produce against him. 

Date. Ships Lost. Lives Lost. 

1867 S.S. C th — 



1868 A s 



V e 29 

F e 10 

V ^r — 

1869 L e 28 

P n — 

C u 22 

H r 16 

M V — 









A ^r Not known. 



>> 



I am, my dear Sir, 

Very truly yours, 



Samuel Plimsoll, Esq., M.P., House of Commons. ] 

It is really awful to contemplate the loss of precious 
human life from the operations of this one man alone. 

I don't suppose he has lost any since \ for I threatened 
him to his face that I would bring the matter before the 
House of Commons, and it was pitiable to see the abject 
terror of the man. However, I will write to-night (Decem- 
ber 9, ^72) to my informant, and will insert his reply when 
it reaches me. — I now have it (December 20). This man 
has not lost a single seaman's life since ! 

Another case came to my knowledge. It was this : — 

I must premise by saying that no prudent ship-owner will 
dispatch ships to the ports of the Baltic later than the end 
of September. The season then closes, and the lights are 
removed, to prevent their being carried away by the ice. 

Mr. James Hall, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, had a large ship 
(1,500 tons) waiting for freight in the Jarrow Dock, and he 
was offered 30X. per ton to carry a cargo of railroad iron 
into the east of the Baltic. It was the middle of September; 
the rate was high ; the ship was empty. It was, as he said, 
very tempting. So he sent for the captain of the ship, and 
asked him if he durst venture into the Baltic then. The 
captain said to him, " For God's sake don't send us into the 



74 OUR SEAMEN, 

Baltic at this time of the year, sir. You might as well send 
us all to the bottom of the sea at once.'* Well, Mr. Hall 
declined the offer ; but five weeks later the same oflfer was 
accepted by another ship-owner, and he proceeded to load 
one of his ships, and this was how he loaded her. She was 
a spar-decked ship. Now a spar-decked ship is to a flush- 
decked ship what a box-cart with side-boards is to a box- 
cart without them. When it is desired to make a spar- 
deck, half the ribs of the ship which go from the keel up 
and within the sides — that is to say, every alternate rib — is 
carried above the main or flush- deck upwards some seven 
feet, and another deck is constructed over the main-deck at 
that height. This is to enable the ship to throw off the seas, 
which break over the ship better, and if the cargo consists 
of light goods, affords more stowage. 

Now, in consideration of the greater safety a spar-deck 
thus gives, she may be immersed much lower than a flush- 
decked ship, always counting from the main-deck, which is 
under the spar-deck : i.e, her main-deck, when she is loaded, 
may be much nearer the level of the water than if her main- 
deck had no spar-deck above it to enable her to throw off 
the seas. And whereas by Lloyd's rule three inches of 
every foot depth of hold (from main-deck to keel) ought to 
be above the water-line, if flush-decked, one and a half 
inches of the side of the ship below the main-deck is deemed 
sufficient in the case of a spar-decked ship. 

Thus, it will be seen, in both cases must the line of the 
main-deck be above the water-Hne, the only difference in 
the two cases being how much. 

Now as to cargo. Goods more than 40 cubic feet of 
which weigh a ton are called measurement cargo ; if they 
are so light that 80 or 85 cubic feet don't weigh a ton, they 
are still called and charged for as a ton. Goods of which 
35 feet weigh a ton are called dead-weight. Now 5 cubic 
feet of iron weigh a ton, so that this is the heaviest dead- 
weight they carry, and, from the weight pressing on so small 
a space, it is the most dangerous cargo a ship can carry. 



OVERLOADING. 75 

The ship I refer to was 872 tons register, and she was 
loaded with 1,591 tons ! 

Take another test. She was 17 feet deep in her hold; 
from top of keelson to bottom of keel i fool 6 inches ; in 
all 18 feet 6 inches. According to Lloyd's and the Govern- 
ment rule she ought to have had her main-deck at least 
2 feet 3i inches out of water, which, added to the height of 
the spar-deck, 7 feet, would give the height of her spar-deck 
out of water as 9 feet 3f inches ; instead of her main-deck 
being above the water-line 2 feet 3f inches, // was actually 
2 feet 10 inches below the level of the water, and her spar-deck 
was only 4 feet 2 inches above the water-line, instead of 
9 feet 3f inches. 

And this vessel, so loaded, was sent off to the Baltic in 
November, or five weeks later than the same freight had 
been refused by Mr. James Hall, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
on the ground that it was too late in the season to send a 
ship without imminent peril to the lives of the seamen ! 

Of course she was lost — foundered about eighteen miles 
from the Enghsh coast (east); but fortunately her crew were 
saved by a fishing-boat. 

She was insured, of course, and after what I have before 
said, you will not wonder that the underwriters paid the 
claim, no one of them having an interest large enough to 
make it worth while to engage in an expensive lawsuit. 
And this ship-owner had the hardihood to say to me, " The 
underwriters have paid, and is not that proof that all was 
right ? " 

I said to him, " You know what that defence is worth ; " 
and then he talked about the terrific weather that the ship 
had had ; but I had provided myself with a copy of the 
protest, which contradicts itself, for instance — 6 a.m., wind 
blowing a perfect hurricane; 10 a.m., foretopsail had to be 
taken in ! What sort of a perfect hurricane could it have 
been when they could carry topsails? Then the protest 
says, the log-book was lost with the ship, and yet gives the 
following times in the protest's narrative — 1.45 p.m., 8 p.m., 



76 OUR SEAMEN. 

9.20 p.m., 10.30 p.m., 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 8 p.m., 3 a.m., 
6 a.m., 7 ^'i^*; 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 4.30 a.m., 7 a.m., 
8 a.m., 4 p.m., 10.15 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 5.25 p.m., 6 
a.m. 

Is it not obvious that the narrative is got . up, or that the 
statement that the log-book went down with the ship is 
wholly untrue ? 

How is it, also, that the mate did not sign the protest ? 

Of the ships also which had left the same port on the 
same day, and of those which sailed for three days before 
and three days after, not one (they had been looked up) had 
met with the slightest accident or bad weather. 

But it is childish to seek any other reason for the ship 
foundering than her excessive load and the season of the 
year. This man, I may say, before I dismiss him for the 
present, actually assured a public meeting that the charges 
of overloading were grossly exaggerated, for that he himself 
had assisted the officers of the Board of Trade to go over 
all the alleged cases of overloading from the north-eastern 
ports, and had satisfied them that these charges were all 
groundless, except in one case ! Poor Board of Trade ! 

Now, How is overloading to be ascertained ? 

There are several rules which find favour with ship^ 
builders. The oldest is that known as Lloyd's rule, viz. 
three inches of side (sometimes called freeboard) for every 
foot depth of hold. This is also the invariable rule of loading 
enforced by Government when they charter ships for con- 
veyance of stores, &c. ; but some contend, and with reason, 
that if a ship is unusually broad of beam, less than three 
inches will be safe. 

Again, an iron ship may, in the opinion of Liverpool 
authorities, be loaded more deeply than this with safety, 
when her hold is not more than twenty-one feet deep ; while, 
if she is twenty-three feet deep and upwards, they would give 
her more fireeboard than Lloyd's scale demands. 

Other authorities contend that the true measure should 
be three-tenths of the total displacement of the ship as side 



OVERLOADING, 77 

above water. The Liverpool scale for wooden ships also 
allows rather deeper loading for vessels under seventeen feet 
depth of hold, and requires much lighter loading than that 
claimed by Lloyd's rule for vessels having holds deeper than 
twenty feet 

On occasion of one of my visits to a port in the north, I 
was met by a gentleman who knew what my errand there 
was likely to be, and he said, " Oh, Mr. PlimsoU, you 
should have been here yesterday ; a vessel went down the 
river so deeply loaded, that everybody who saw her expects 
to hear of her being lost. She was loaded under the per- 
sonal directions of her owner, and the Captain himself said 
to me, * Isn't it shameful, sir, to send men with families to 
sea in a vessel loaded like that ? ' Poor fellow, it is much 
if ever he reaches port." 

Mr. C B k said, as he saw her, " That ship will 

never reach her destination." 

Mr. J B said, " She did not look to be more 

than 12 or 14 inches out of the water." 

Mr. J H , a policeman, said to his colleague, 

" Dear me ! how deep she is ! " 

Mr. W B said to a friend, standing by his side, 

" Dear me ! this vessel appears very deep in the water." 

Mr. J S said, " It strikes me she is dangerously 

deep." 

The Captain called on his friend, Mr. J H , who 

said he (the Captain) was greatly depressed in spirits. He 

told him (Mr. H ), " that he " (the Captain) " had 

measured her side loaded, and she was only 20 inches out 
of the water.'* He also asked his friend to look after his 

(the Captain's) wife. Mr. H gave him some rockets in 

case of the worst, and then they shook hands and parted. 

J N and C , two workmen, said to 

each other, " that they would not go in that ship if the 

owner would give them the ship." And J L , 

another workman, said " he'd rather go to prison than go in 
that ship ;" and lastly, two of the wives of two of the sailors 



78 OUR SEAMEN. 

at least begged the owner " not to send the vessel to sea so 
deep." 

She was sent. The men were some of them threatened, 
and one at least had a promise of loi". extra per month 
wages to mduce him to go. As she steamed away, the police 
boat left her ; the police had been aboard to overawe the 
men into going. As the poHce boat left her side, two of the 
men, deciding at the last moment that they would rather be 
taken to prison, hailed the police, and begged to be taken 
by them. The police said " they could not interfere,*' and 
the ship sailed. My friend was in great anxiety, and told 
me that if it came on to blow, the ship cotdd not live. 

It did blow* a good half gale all the day after, Sunday — 
the ship sailed on Friday. I was looking seaward from the 

promontory on which the ruins of T Castle stand, 

with a heavy heart. The wind was not above force 7 — 
nothing to hurt a well-found and properly loaded vessel. I 
had often been out in much worse weather, but then this 
vessel was not properly loaded (and her owner stood to gain 
over ;£'2,ooo clear if she went down, by over-insurance), and 
I knew that there were many others almost as unfit as she 
was to encounter rough weather — ships so rotten that if they 
struck they would go to pieces at once ; ships so overloaded, 
that every sea would make a clean sweep over them, sending 
tons and tons of water into her hold every time, until the 
end came. 

On Monday, we heard of a shij) in distress having been 
seen ; rockets had been sent up by her ; it was feared she 
was lost. On Tuesday, a name-board of a boat was picked 
up, and this was all that was ever heard of her. 

Mr. D d was quite correct. On the Saturday he saw 

his wife reading the newspaper, and said to her, ** Look out 

for the in a day or two. I saw her go out of the 

river. She is sure to be lost." She was lost, and nearly 
twenty men returned home never more. 

Mr. B and his brother told me that one day they saw 

a vessel leaving dock; she was so deep, that having a list 



OVERLOADING, 79 

upon her, the scuppers on the low side were half in the 
water and half out. (A list means she was so loaded as to 
have one side rather deeper down than the other ; the 
scuppers are the holes in the bulwarks that let the water out 
which comes on deck from rain, from washing, and the seas 
breaking over her.) They heard a slight commotion on 
board, and a voice said to the Captain, "Larry's not on 
board, sir." He had run for it. Nothing could be done 
for lack of time to seek him, so they sailed without him. 
And these gentlemen heard the crew say, as the vessel 
slowly moved away from the dock gate, " Then Larry's the 
only man of us '11 be alive in a week." That vessel was lost. 

The L , a large ship, was sailing on a long voyage 

from a port in Wales, with a cargo of coal. Mr. B 

called a friend's attention to her state. She was a good 

ship, but terribly deep in the water. Mr. B said, 

" Now, is it possible that that vessel can reach her destina- 
tion unless the sea is as smooth as a mill-pond the whole 
way ? " 

The sea does not appear to have been as smooth as a 
mill-pond, for that ship was never heard of again, and twenty- 
eight of our poor, hard-working, brave fellow-subjects never 
more returned to gladden their poor wives and play with 
their children. 

The iS* B , a large ship, put to sea one day. She 

was so deep, that Mr. J M 1 said to me as she 

went, " She was nothing but a coffin for the poor fellows on 
board of her." He watched and watched, fascinated almost 
by the deadly peril of the crew ; and he did not watch for 
nothing — before he left his look-out to go home, he saw her 
go down. 

Do you doubt these statements ? Then, for God's sake 
— oh, for God's sake, help me to get a Royal Commission 
to inquire into their truth ! Surely I don't ask too much, in 
asking that^ for the sake of these poor brothers of ours, so 
shamefully neglected, so murderously treated. 

The variation in these scales is urged as a reason why no 



8o OUR SEAMEN. 

one scale should be adopted, but most dishonestly so, as 
there is no difficulty. I would allow the ship-owner to 
choose which he Hked of all the scales, and load as deeply 
as any of them would allow; or if he have more ships 
than one, then any part of any rule for each of his ships. I 
only want to prevent his being a rule to himself, and load- 
ing his vessel much, very much, deeper than any scale 
allows or than any competent authority would sanction, 
and if he is still dissatisfied, I would give him an appeal to 
the Board of Trade. 

You see no special knowledge is needed here, and you 
who never saw a ship, or don't know a ship from a barque, 
or a brig from a schooner or brigantine, you are just as able 
to express an opinion, and^ better than that, you will on this 
point. 

Let provision be made for painting on the ship's side 
what the Newcastle Chamber of Commere calls the " maxi- 
mum load-line," and that no ship under any circumstances 
be allowed to leave port unless that line be distinctly 
visible at or above the water-line; and let this fact be 
ascertained and communicated to the Board of Trade by a 
photograph of the vessel's side as she leaves the port or 
dock. It will not cost more than a few shillings, and 
would save a great deal of false swearing afterwards. 

Now as to repairs. 

How is the state of repair of a ship to be ascertained ? Just 
as it is now in the case of ships canying passengers, by a 
surveyor appointed by the Board of Trade ; but instead of a 
survey every six months, an annual survey would probably 
be found sufficient. 

On this point, too, I apprehend you now feel no difficulty 
in forming an opinion, and also of expressing your wiU, 

Before I go on to indicate the probable results of these 
changes, there are two minor points to notice. 

No re-christening of a ship should be allowed, under any 
circumstances. It is a not infrequent thing to do to get rid 
of an evil reputation, and sailors are sometimes led by this 



REMEDY, 8r 

into signing articles to go in a ship, which, had they known 
what I may call her real name, they would not have done. 
(I know of some cases myself.) 

Underwriters, also, are thus sometimes cheated into in- 
suring a villainous craft, which they would certainly not 
have done had the ship been offered for insurance in the 
name by which she was better known. 

The case of the Deal boatmen, also, ought to have atten- 
tion. They — and not sometimes, but often — are signalled 
for help by vessels in distress, and gallantly they go to her 
help in almost any weather ; but when they reach her, her 
condition may be different, or, fortified by the knowledge 
that help is at hand, the captain calls upon the crew for 
one more effort — ^for a little further struggle ; the men 
(encouraged, it may be, by the help at hand) respond, and 
they get out of their perilous position. In this event, the 
boatmen, who have perhaps rowed miles in a most dangerous 
sea, and often in the night, too, are sent empty away, if 
indeed they are not, as sometimes happens, laughed at. 
We don't treat a cabman even, in this way ; and provision 
should be made that, if signals of distress are used, at least 
the first boat that reaches the ship which signals should be 
remunerated, whether the services of the boatmen are 
required or not. 

There is another source of much suffering to seamen 
which would cost but little to set right. 

It is well known to those acquainted with seafaring topics, 
that a considerable number of seamen are shipped for long 
voyages, and almost altogether unprovided with proper 
clothing — many of them are put on board with nothing but 
what they have on; and in cases where the voyage is to 
cold latitudes much suffering is the consequence, men 
sometimes losing their toes from frost, and even when the 
consequences are not so serious their sufferings are very 
great. 

I admit that their unprovided state is often (but not 
always) the result of their own improvidence, but if judg- 

G 



82 OUR SEAMEN. 

ment were laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet, 
which of us could stand ? besides, Parliament has interfered 
to prevent Irish tenants from making bargains manifestly 
against their interests, and when it is considered how infi- 
nitesimal the additional cost to a ship's equipment would 
be, if a small supply of extra clothing were required to be 
carried on board, to be supplied on fair terms to the seamen 
in such cases, I cannot think any serious objection would 
be made to such a requirement when the acute and pro- 
longed suflfering it would obviate is considered. 

These three points disposed of, I will now ask you to 
think of the enormous saving of life which would ensue 
from the prevention of overloading, and firom the due 
execution of necessary repairs. 

The Board of Trade's e\ddence must be again cited. 
They show conclusively that more than half our losses are 
owing to unseaworthy and overladen ships of the collier doss; 
but there are other ships beside collier ships which are 
unseaworthy, and overloading is not a practice confined to 

colliers. 

Compulsory survey, then, and prevention of overloading, 
applied to all merchant ships, would result in the saving 
of all those lives which are lost firom these causes in the 
rest of the merchant navy. 

No one unacquainted with the facts can have any idea 
what a total change would ensue at once fi*om the prevention 
of overloading, but you can form some idea of it firom the 
consideration of the following fact, showing how safe ships 
are when properly found, manned, and loaded. Mr. George 
Elliot, M.P., and his partners, have a fleet of steamers run- 
ning between the Tyne and London continuously — the 
Tanfield^ James Joic^^ Orwell, Newburn, New Pelton, Tre- 
vithick, Magna Charta, William Hunter, Berwick, Osworth, 
Carbon, and others. These ships put into London from 
fifty to seventy cargoes of coal each per annum — ^the Tan- 
fidd having put sixty-eight, sixty-nine, and sixty-eight in 
three successive years. They are loaded and imloaded by 



RESULTS. 83 

machinery, and as they go and come more than once in each 
week, they are all at least three-fourths of all the hours that 
come from yearns end to year's end on the sea. The voyage is a 
more dangerous one than an over-sea voyage, for as soon as 
they leave the Thames the sands and shoals and channels 
amongst which they pick their way begin. There are a 
whole crowd of dangerous shoals off the Essex coast alone 
to be avoided or steered between, as the case may be, as 
soon as the ships leave the Thames : — ^the Mouse Sand, the 
Long Sand, the Sunk, the Barrow, the Gunfleet, the Wallet, 
and the Kentish Knock Sands, all to be guarded against ; 
the Cutler, the Cork, the Whiting, and the Shipwash Sands; 
the Gorton Sand, the Newton, the Pakefield, and the Holm, 
off the Suffolk coast; the Cross, the Scroby, the Barber 
Sands ; the Hasboro' Sand and the Sherringham Shoal, and 
the Ower and Leman, off the Norfolk coast. Look at any 
one of the wreck charts before referred to, and see what 
toll of our men's lives the Suffolk and the Norfolk coasts 
take. These sands are all under water even when the tide 
is ebb, but there is not water enough on them to float a ship, 
hence the losses when ill-found, overloaded, and under- 
manned ships get on them. Look at the next list of wrecks, 
and you will see that " she grounded on the Scroby San4," 
or " she was lost on the Hasboro' Sand," or " the Sherring- 
ham Shoal," &c. Then there is the dangerous water enclosed 
by the Dudgeon, the Outer Dowsing, and the Spurn Head 
Lights; and higher up come the dangerous rocky coasts 
of Yorkshire and Durham. And all these have to be passed ; 
but as there is no weather in these latitudes which is fairly 
responsible for the wreck of a single ship, except foggy 
weather, since no sound and well-found vessel, properly 
loaded and naanned, is ever lost in them, all these ships of 
the truly honourable member, George Elliot, go and come in 
such absolute safety that during all the years from 1859, 
when the Jarrow Dock was first opened, until now, not one 
of them has been lost, nor even met with a casualty worth 
naming. 



84 OUR SEAMEN. 

This is the case also with the fleets of many other ship- 
owners, for it cannot be said too often that nearly the whole 
of our loss is due to a comparatively small number of ship- 
owners tolerably well known in the trade. The large 
majority do take reasonable precautions for securing the 
safety of their servants' lives. 

Another instance will suffice to illustrate this position, 
that with reasonable care the dreadful losses we suffer would 
almost entirely disappear. Mr. G. Reid writes me from — 



« 



19, Richmond Road, Bayswater, London, 
^* February 17, 187 1. 



" About the year i860 the firm of Anthony Gibbs and Sons, 
Bishopsgate Street, London, took a contract from the Peru- 
vian Government at Lima (Peru), to charter and load ships 
at the Chincha Islands with guano, and as many as between 
three and four hundred ships yearly left those islands for 
different parts of the world. At first they were allowed to 
load and proceed to sea without either being inspected or 
surveyed before or after loading, and were permitted to load 
as deeply as the masters thought fit.* The result of such 
neglect — losses and casualties very often occasioned. Many 
ships foundered at sea, sometimes with all hands on board, 
others put back to the nearest port, in a leaky, disabled 
state, so much so that hardly three days would pass without 
hearing of some accident and loss, through the ships being 
allowed to overload and proceed to sea in an unseaworthy 
condition. Mr. Stubbs, who was at the head of the house 
of Anthony Gibbs and Sons at Lima — he having to charter 
all the ships for loading guano — ^held a meeting, which passed 
a bye-law that for the future all ships, before being chartered 
by that firm, or allowed to load when chartered previously 
in England, should be surveyed by their surveyor before 
loading, and inspected after being loaded; afterwards a 
certificate being signed by the surveyor, stating the condi- 

♦ Just as we do now in England. 



RESULTS. 85 

tion and necessary repairs wanted — if any required — and 
sent in to the office ; a copy given to the master of the ship, 
and in the same certificate the height of side was given that 
the ship was to finish loading with. As soon as the ship 
had been reported loaded, she was inspected, pumps well 
sounded, pumps sealed for twenty-four hours or less, side 
measured, and if all things found satisfactory, a certificate 
was given to that effect, and a copy given to the master of 
the ship, allowing him to proceed to sea, as soon as he had 
received his clearance firom the custom-house, which he 
could not get until he had produced his certificate firom the 
surveyor, stating the ship was in a fit and soimd state to 
proceed to sea. 

" Soon after the above rules were enforced a sudden and 
wonderful improvement took place, and during the four 
years I was surveyor afterwards not one ship foundered at 
sea, and only about two or three per cent, met with acci- 
dents ; and, to confirm what I have stated, you have only 
to apply to Mr. Stubbs, at the firm of Anthony Gibbs and 
Sons, London. That gentleman will be able to give very 
useful information on the subject, for I had the honour of 
being surveyor at Callao under him." 

Do not these facts bear me out in saying that if we give 
proper care to the matter, our losses will almost entirely dis- 
appear ? 

From a full consideration of the matter, firom various 
opinions of practical men, gathered firom time to time by 
me, I am of opinion that at least two-thirds of our total loss 
might be avoided, if not three-fourths j for practical men of 
high-standing contend that no steam-ship well built and 
found and properly manned and loaded will founder at sea 
— they say that her doing so is her own condemnation ! 

See here how our task clears up before us, as we address 
ourselves with energy to its proper execution. It is as 
though God, in calling upon us to do our duty, were making 
the way plain and easy to us. I have enumerated and 



86 OUR SEAMEN, 

examined several sources of loss, — no less than nine. Seven 
of these I don't urge you to express yourself upon, on the 
ground that they call for special knowledge in their treat- 
ment ; yet with only two on which you can with full confi- 
dence give a verdict, these two rules of conduct only 
adopted, — that ships needing repair shall be repaired, and 
that ships shall not be overloaded, — we have this magnifi- 
cent reward for prompt and decisive action, that no less 
than two-thirds of the annual loss so much deplored will at 
once become a thing of the past. It almost makes one's 
heart leap to contemplate the prospect, that by the end of 
1873 this fearful loss of life will be so grandly decreased. 

Objections ! (of course there will be objections ; let us 
examine them) : — 

There will be the question of expense. Indeed, when I 
introduced my bill the first time, a gentleman connected 
with the Government went so far as to say it would cost 
;£'5oo,ooo a year. Well, suppose it did ; I, for one, deny 
utterly that it would be any the less our duty to do it. But 
would it cost ;£'5oo,ooo ? 

To answer this question I must shortly describe the con- 
stitution of Lloyd's. There are two bodies called ** Lloyd's." 
The older society is that of the underwriters, who undertake 
the business of insurance, &c. From and in close con- 
nection with this arose Lloyd's Register Committee, in 
1834. This Committee was formed to supply the under- 
writers with trustworthy information about ships, and they 
undertook the survey of ships, which when surveyed they 
classified, and of which they published a list, the first of 
which was published in 1834. There was a list of some 
sort before, 1819 ^s the earliest I can find. It was from the 
outset intended that this Committee should be self-support- 
ing, the price of the list and the fees charged for surveys 
being expected to cover all their expenses. Thus there was 
no necessity for any capital, nor for any proprietary, nor is 
there any proprietary now. Their surveys, it was unexpect- 
edly found, besides supplying information to the under- 



EXPENSE, 87 

writers, gave additional market value to ships, as capitalists 
ignorant of much relating to ships could now invest in ships 
with safety, as well as a person possessing sufficient tech- 
nical knowledge to value a ship himself. So, from surveying 
ships already built, their surveyors were asked to overlook 
the construction of ships in process of being built, for which 
one shilling per ton was charged. These ships are marked 
in the Register with a +, and these are very carefully sur- 
veyed three times during their construction. 

First When the frame is completed, the timbers dubbed 
(adzed) fair inside and outside, all ready for the planking 
and ceiling, but before the latter is put on. 

Second, When the beams are put in, but before the decks 
are laid down, and with at least two streaks of the plank of 
the ceiling between the lower deck and the bilge unwrought, 
to admit of an examination of the inner surface of the 
planking of the bottom. 

Third. When completed and before the planking is painted 
or otherwise covered. Ships so marked with a + stand 
mach higher than others, they sell for more money, and they 
can be insured at lower rates. 

The scale of fees settled at the outset, from the rapid 
extension of their operations, soon became much more than 
was wanted to pay their expenses, salaries of surveyors, &c. 
What was to be done? First, salaries were raised all 
round ; and now their first-class surveyors all receive ;^8oo 
per annum, and the lowest grade ;^2oo, — a scale of pay- 
ment so liberal that, as the very able and obliging secretary, 
Mr. Seyfang, told me, they were able to draw their young 
surveyors from the very best ranks of shipwrights reared in 
her Majesty's dockyards, where the payment is much smaller ; 
but as this measure still left their income too high, they next 
reduced the fees. ;^io 10s, was reduced to £^% 5^., and 
then J[^2 2s. was all that was charged for the half-time 
; survey, and the charge for the annual survey was remitted 
altogether. Still the money came in faster than they could 
spend it, and one year I believe their surplus was not less 



88 OUR SEAMEN. 

than ;^i 8,000, and they now have a large sum accumulated, 
which, as they have no proprietary to divide it amongst, 
they literally don't know what to do with. 

Now, I should never recommend the Government to do 
gratis for the careless and reckless ship-owner that for which 
the prudent and careful ship-owner pays ! He ought to be 
charged, of course, fees not less in amount than those 
charged by Lloyd's. These fees would greatly exceed the 
expenses incurred by Government in the matter, and the 
surplus would go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, like 
the surplus from the Post-office and from the Telegraph. 

So much for the objection of expense. 

But ^^ you would want an army of surveyors J^ objected 
the gentleman before referred to. 

I again deny that even if this were so, it would absolve 
us from our plain duty. But how stands the case realy ? 
If their work was not only self-supporting, but brought xt a 
surplus of revenue over expense, it matters not how many 
would be wanted, further than this, it might be feared 
whether sufficient surveyors could be found at short notice 

There is no need of apprehension on this score, how- 
ever, for but few (seventeen) additional surveyors would he 
wanted. The proposal made by the Newcastle Chamber of 
Commerce in 1870, was that all unclassed ^vp^ should bp 
surveyed (I shall explain unclassed further on).* But wt 
must assert the principle of Government responsibility 
plainly and unmistakably, and this by enacting that all 
merchant vessels be surveyed by them, or under theii 
authority, certain exceptions being scheduled in the Act, 
which schedule the Board of Trade should have power, 
from time to time, to add to or abridge. 

Thus it would be readily admitted that the ships on 
Lloyd's List and the Book of the Liverpool Underwriters,, 
already under very efficient supervision, should be excepted. 
The ships of the Cunard, the Peninsular and Oriental, and 
other lines carrying passengers, are already under survey, 

* Page 109. , 



SURVEYING. 89 

and would merely need that the load-line regulation should 
be applied. Not all of them would require even this, 
except for uniformity's sake. 

The total number of ships registered in British ports at 
the beginning of the year was — 

Tonnage. 
Sailing ships . 22,510 . 4,374,511 
Steam ships. . 3)382 . 1,319,612 

25,892 5,694,123 

Of this number of 25,892, there are 10,417 on Lloyd's 
Book for 1872, and there are 908 on the Book of the 
Liverpool Underwriters. These two totals, therefore, leave 
only 14,567 vessels to be dealt with, and this total is subject 
to further reduction by the number (of which I find no 
return) of passenger-canying vessels already under survey 
by the Board of Trade. 

During the first months of this change, too, all vessels 
built within five years might be left till the last, if necessary. 
These amount to 5,397, thus again reducing the number 
requiring immediate survey to 9,170, further reducible by 
the number of passenger-carrying vessels. But a still fiirther 
reductipn may be confidently reckoned on from the pro- 
spective action of the bill, if it be read a second time. 

It is well known to, and it is vouched for by, a high 
authority I have seen in Sunderland, who says, *' It is well 
known to myself and colleagues that there are some hun- 
dreds of ships sailing from the north-east ports which are 

utterly unfit to be trusted with human life There 

has been no instance within my knowledge of a ship being 
broken up anywhere for many years. They insure them as 
long as *they can, and when re-christening and all other 
dodges fail even with underwriters, then they form mutual 
insurance clubs, and go on until the ships fill and go down 
in some breeze, or strike and go to pieces." Have you 
reflected what the effect of a second reading of a bill which 
proposed to enact that vessels needing repair shall be 



90 OUR SEAMEN. 

repaired, would have upon these ? It would result in great 
numbers being withdrawn and broken up, and in others 
being immediately taken up for repair. 

The second reading would act upon all the rotten and 
worthless ships as the voice of the prophet of the Lord did 
upon the dry bones, when he cried, " Come from the four 
winds, O breath, and breathe upon these dry bones, that 
they may live." And our north-east sea-ports would become 
such a scene of wholesome and life-giving activity as has 
never yet been seen. This would reduce the number still 
further. 

Now as Lloyd's have on their staff forty-one fully em- 
ployed surveyors and seventeen partially employed, and as 
this staflf surveys 10,417 ships, it is only a rule of three 
question as to how many additional surveyors would be 
required, even if no further use were made of the services of 
the surveyors already employed by the Board of Trade. 

I have consulted many excellent authorities both in 
London and the north of England, and all agree that but 
few additional surveyors would be needed; my own esti- 
mate is seventeen. Mr. James Hall, of Newcastle, is sure 
less would be found sufficient after the first twelve months. 

Further, I asked Mr. G. B. Seyfangj the secretary of 
Lloyd's Register Committee, and therefore the very best 
authority in England, if he thought there would be any 
difficulty about the matter. He fully discussed the matter 
with me, including all the points I have named, and his 
opinion, as nearly as I can remember his words, was : — " I 
do not think there would be much difficulty; we would 
gladly lend the Government all the help in our power, to 
the whole extent of our staff; we would even increase our 
staflf, and probably the Liverpool Committee would give 
their assistance. Of course it would make everybody very 
busy, especially during the first twelve months, and it would 
be right that the surveyors should receive extra remunera- 
tion. StiU, I have no doubt but that the thing could be 
done." 



SURVEYING, 91 

I have now dealt with the objection that an army of 
surveyors would be needed. The next objection I will 
notice (it was made in the House) is this : — 

"That as Government would probably sanction the 
surveys of Lloyd's, &c., and the other Committee, it would 
amount to a recognition of private institutions." 

Well, what of that ? we ought to be very glad that the 
necessities of commerce have already done so much of our 
work. Did not the Irish Land Act recognise what is called 
the Ulster custom, and enact that as it was just it should 
not be interfered with or displaced ? More, did it not enact 
that places where the custom did not already prevail might 
adopt it, and so remove themselves from the otherwise 
operation of the Act ? 

Does an engineer having a road to make between two 
distant places, after levelling up ravines and tunnelling hills, 
refuse to recognise a fine stretch of level ground ? 

But I have a still better answer to this objection than I 
had when I brought in my bill providing for the survey of 
unclassed ships, and for the prevention of overloading, for 
time has been on my side. Last year the Government 
wanted to make better provision for testing the strength of 
chain cables, and not having the means of doing the work 
itself, it e?cpressly authorised the Board of Trade in the 
first schedule to the Act to adopt as their own work, work 
of this nature done under their authority by (inter cUid) " The 
Committee of Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Ship- 
ping," and " The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board," and 
some other bodies. So much for the dreaded principle of 
recognising private institutions. By the way, is it not 
passing strange that while the Government, in the view of 
diminishing loss of life, prescribe how many and what boats 
a ship must carry, how many and what lights she shall 
carry, and, as we have seen, takes pains that the ships' 
cables and anchors shall be adequate, it has not yet 
thought it necessary to see that the ships themselves are 
seaworthy ? 



92 OUR SEAMEN. 

But, further says the mouthpiece of Government in re- 
pl3dng to my speech : — 

" If the Government were to interfere it would entirely 
destroy the ship-owner's responsibility/* The answer to 
this is that (with one exception moved for by a private 
member) no inquiry or other investigation is ever made 
when a merchantman founders at sea, even with all hands, 
not carrying passengers. Mr. James Hall, of Newcastle, a 
large ship-owner, and an excellent authority on such sub- 
jects, said, in addressing the Associated Chambers of Com- 
merce in London, in 1870 : — 

" I know of no case where an inquiry has been held into 
the loss of any ship which may have foundered at sea, with 
all hands, passenger ships excepted." 

* *^ *^ *^ ^ ^u 

^% ^% ^% ^^ ^^ 

" I know of no case where a ship-owner has been held 
responsible for sending his ship to sea in an unseaworthy 
condition." 

To talk, therefore, of destroying responsibility is non- 
sense. There is none, and therefore you can no more destroy 
it than you can steal a keyhole. 

" But it will establish a dangerous precedent " if you in- 
terfere, said another member. The full evidence I have 
put before you regarding mines, factories, buildings, &c., &c., 
is a sufficient answer to this. 

" But will you not encounter strong opposition from the 
ship-owners?" No — emphatically no! The Newcastle 
Chamber of Commerce appointed a sub-committee to report 
upon the provisions of the proposed Navigation Bill in 1869, 
and (inter alia) they reported that — "Your Committee 
strongly lu-ge that there should be a periodical inspection of 
all sailing ships, unclassed at Lloyd's, or the Liverpool 
Underwriters' Association, and also of all unclassed steam- 
ships not carrying passengers;" and subsequently the 
Chamber of Commerce of Newcastle-on-Tyne and Gates- 
head petitioned Parliament on the 15th March, 1870, in 



PETITION. 93 

these terms — (I may here insert that they also memorialized 
the Board of Trade on the subject in November, 1869) : — 
" That your Petitioners, as the commercial representatives 
of this town, are deeply interested in all matters relating to 
the Mercantile Marine. 

" That your Petitioners would strongly urge that clauses 
should be inserted in the Bill providing for the periodical 
inspection (as at present provided for in the case of 
passenger-carrying ships) of all sailing ships unclassed at 
Lloyd's, or the Liverpool Underwriters' Association, and 
also of unclassed steamships not carrying passengers, and 
your Petitioners would point out that since provisions are 
contained in the Bill for the carrying of Boats, Lights, &c., 
it cannot be of less importance that the ship itself should 
be seaworthy. 

" That your Petitioners respectfully draw attention to an 
abstract, presented to your Honourable House, of the returns 
made by the Board of Trade, of Wrecks, Casualties, and 
Collisions which occurred on and near the Coasts of the 
United Kingdom, from the ist January to the 31st Decem- 
ber, 1868. It is reported that — 

" 'The number of ships lost or damaged in the 1,747 
wrecks, casualties, and collisions reported in 1868, 
is 2,131 ; representing a register tonnage of 427,000 
tons. The number of ships in 1868 is less than the 
number in 1867, by 382. In 1868 there were 131 
wrecks and casualties to Smacks and other Fishing 
Vessels. Excluding these 131 Fishing Vessels, it 
will be seen that the number of vessels employed in 
the Carrying Trade that have suffered from wreck 
or casualty, during the year, is 2,000. If this 
number is again subdivided, it will be found that 
about half of it is represented by the unseaworthy, 
over-laden, or ill-found vessels of the Collier class, 
chiefly employed in the Coasting Trade. In the 
ten years ending 1868, 176 casualties happened to 
nearly new ships; 297 to ships from three to seven 



94 OUR SEAMEN. 

years old; 420 from seven to fourteen years old; 
653 from fifteen to thirty years old ; 267 from thirty 
to fifty years old ; thirty-five between fifty and sixty 
years old ; twenty-eight from sixty to seventy ; nine 
from seventy to eighty; and eight from eighty to 
ninety years old. The age of 238 is unknown, but 
this year no casualties have been reported to vessels 

of known greater age than ninety years 

The state of rottenness and want of repair ef some 
of the ships above twenty years old often calls for 
remark. Even at the age of twenty-five to thirty, it 
sometimes happens that a ship is so rotten as to fall 
to pieces immediately on touching the ground, 
without giving the crew the slightest chance of 
getting out their boats. The returns show that the 
number of lives lost in 1858 was 353, whereas in 
1868 the number has been 824, being 507 less than 
in 1867. Of the 824 lives lost in 1868, 262 were 
lost in vessels that foundered.* 
This return, your Petitioners would venture to remind your 
Honourable House, only applies to those wrecks or ca- 
sualties occurring on or near the Coasts of the United 
Kingdom. 

"That your Petitioners apprehend that the provisions 
proposed by clause 644 of the Bill, to render it a misde- 
meanour to send a ship to sea in an unseaworthy state, 
would be found practically inoperative. Your Petitioners 
believe that it would only require a small addition to the 
present number of the Marine Board of Trade Surveyors 
to perform the duty of inspection, and that it would be 
found better to prevent the sailing of an unseaworthy ship, 
rather than endeavour to punish the persons supposed to 
be responsible for a loss after its occurrence, and when 
proof of unworthiness would be next to, if not altogether, 
unobtainable. 

" That your Petitioners regret that no provision is made 
in the Bill to determine the maximum load-line of ships 



PETITION, 



95 



and steamers. Recent experience has shown how much 
property is lost, and how many valuable lives are sacrificed, 
by overloading. The extent of the evil arising from such 
cause, in the absence of all inquiry into vessels lost at sea 
(except in some isolated cases), cannot be estimated, and 
your Petitioners feel that legislative measures alone can 
lessen this evil, and that the proposed provision of sec. 
313, recording the draught of water of a sea-going ship, is 
insufficient, and that none of the proposals herein made 
can be held to relieve the ship-owner from his existing 
responsibility. Your Petitioners would observe, that how- 
ever perfect the measure may otherwise be, if it be without 
distinct provisions to meet the evils resulting from over- 
loading, it fails to deal with one of the most distinct and 
recognised deficiencies in the Merchant Shipping Service. 

. " Competent authorities on Shipping agree upon the 
necessity for a line of extreme loading being defined. 

" Your Petitioners venture to suggest that the Bill should 
provide, that for vessels hereafter to be built, such line 
might be determined by the Builder, in conjunction with 
the Surveyor of Lloyd's or the Surveyor to the Liverpool 
Underwriters' Association (under whichever inspection built), 
together with a Surveyor of the Board of Trade, a com- 
bination which would at once represent the Ship-owner, the 
Underwriter, and the Government, and that the decision of 
such body should be submitted to, and approved by the 
Board of Trade ; and that for vessels built under the in- 
spection of neither of the above-mentioned Associations 
(a very rare exception), the Builder and Board of Trade 
Surveyor should determine such extreme limit of flotation, 
with power to call an Assessor under the Admiralty County 
Court Jurisdiction Act, in case of any disagreement. 

" For vessels already navigating, the Builder and Surveyor 
of such ships, when practicable, together with a Surveyor of 
the Board of Trade, should fix such load-line, subject to the 
approval of the Board of Trade ; and, when this^arrange- 
ment is impracticable, the Owner to appoint a representa- 



q6 OUR SEAMEN. 

tive, who, in conjunction with either the Surveyor of Lloyd's 
or to the Liverpool Underwriters' Association, and the Sur- 
veyor to the Board of Trade, should be called to determine 
such line. 

" Your Petitioners would venture to call attention to the 
rules recently revised by Lloyd's, and published last month, 
upon the construction of Iron Ships, wherein it is said that 
— * As the safety and seaworthiness of Spar-decked vessels 
greatly depend upon the draught of water to which they are 
loaded, it is to be understood that the foregoing rules for 
their construction are framed with a view to their being 
loaded to such a draught only as will give a minimum free- 
board for every foot depth of hold, from the top of the floor- 
plate to the upper 'side of main or middle-deck beam 
of li inches, measured from the main or middle-deck 
stringer plate to the water's edge.' 

"Your Petitioners would observe that the free-board, 
which this rule provides for, in the case of Spar-decked 
ships (a class of shipping, the construction of which is 
increasing, and, when not overloaded, the safest), closely 
corresponds with the opinions obtained by your Petitioners 
from the leading Ship Builders, Ship Surveyors, and Nautical 
Authorities of this District, and given in a report on the 
Merchant Shipping Bill, presented by this Chamber to the 
Board of Trade in November last. 

*' The limit determined upon might be stamped amid- 
ships, and the allowed free-board be recorded in a printed 
Certificate, posted on some [convenient part of the ship, in 
the same manner as is now done in Passenger ships, with 
regard to the number of passengers they are allowed to carry. 

" That your Petitioners would point out that, while 
Practical Authorities hold that, in Spar-decked vessels, 
the line of immersion should be below the line of the main 
deck — the distance between the water's edge and the line 
of the main deck being regulated according to the depth of 
hold and build of vessel — yet, in practice, instances of loss 
of life and property, through being submerged above the 



PETITION. 9;* 

main deck, have come within your Petitioners' know- 
ledge. 

" That the increasing number of losses which takes place, 
as your Petitioners believe, from preventible causes, has led 
to an advance in the rates of premium of Insurance ; thus 
inflicting upon the Mercantile and Manufacturing Com- 
munity a tax which, your Petitioners believe, care and 
supervision might, to a certain extent, remedy and remove, 

" That the principle which your Petitioners urge for 
adoption is already admitted by Parliament in the Mines 
and Factories Inspection, and other Acts " 

The Town Council of Leith had petitioned against the 
practice of overloading on the foundering of the Ivanhoe 
from this cause. About the same time also the Associated 
Chambers of Commerce, through their representatives, 
urged their views on this subject upon the attention of 
the Government in the following terms : — 

" I. That a periodical inspection of all sailing ships and 
steam ships, not carrying passengers, unclassed at Lloyd's, 
or by the Liverpool Underwriters' Association, should be 
compulsory. 

" 2. That in consequence of the frequent losses of sail- 
ing and steam ships from the practice of overloading " [the 
italics their own], " the associated chambers are of opinion 
that the attention of the Government should be drawn to 
this subject, and that it should be invited to take into con- 
sideration whether this Bill should not contain provisions 
for determining the maximum load-line of sailing and steam 
ships.'' 

Now, what Chambers of Commerce are they who thus 
express their wishes and opinions ? Their names ought to 
be printed in letters of gold. They are Dundee, Newcastle- 
on-Tyne, West Hartlepool, Middlesboro', Stockton-on-Tees, 
Goole, Hull, Southampton, Exeter, Pljnnouth, Falmouth, 
Bristol, Gloucester, and Cardiff. 

Thus, you see, nearly all the great ports not only sanction 
but ask for this most salutary change in the law. In these 

H 



98 OU^ SEAMEN. 

places the wonder is that nothmg has been done before, but 
the explanation has already been given. Before insurance- 
no law was necessary, and the changed condition of affairs 
has not yet sufficiently attracted the public attention. 

At the meeting at which these resolutions were adopted,, 
they were proposed by Mr. James Hall (of the firm of 
Palmer and Hall, the large ship-owners), of Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne, and he supported them in a speech so full of 
information, so pregnant with statements which would 
hardly be deemed authentic from any other than one him- 
self a ship-owner and therefore fully conversant with the 
subject dealt with, and so honourable to his high feeling as 
a British merchant, that I give it in its entirety from the 
only copy I have, merely printing in italics the parts more 
especially deserving of notice. 

[ MERCHANT SHIPPING BILL, 



Meeting of the Associated Chambers of Commerce^ February,, 
iSyo, at the Westminster Palace Hotel y London, 



** That a periodical inspection of all sailing ships and steam ships,, 
not carrying passengers, unclassed at Lloyd's, or by the- 
Liverpool Underwriters' Association, should be com^ 
pulsory." 

Mr. James Hall, of Newcastle, said — ^In asking the Associated 
Chambers of Commerce to adopt the resolution which has just been 
read, I regret that I have no dat^ to put before you as to the extent of 
the evil which it is intended to lemedy. The knowledge that unsea- 
worthy ships are allowed to navigate is best known to those who^ like 
myself y are engaged in the maritime commerce of the country, I know 
of no case where an enquiry has been held into the loss of any ship 
which may have foundered at sea, with all hands, passenger ships 
excepted, and in the absence of all such enquiries it is impossible to 
form any estimate. That the evil is a serious one I have no doubt.. 
The class of shipping which is engaged in the coal trade, as a general 
rule, is a very mferior class. In the Mining Act the most stringent 
rules are laid down for the safety of those employed. If an accident 
happens, notice within twenty-fom- hours must be given to the Home 
Secretary, and where the consequences are attended with the loss of a 
single life, the inquest cannot be held imtil the inspector under the 
Government be present. How very different* is this state of things to 

* Consider the difference.— S. P. 



SPEECH OF MR. y. HALL. 99 

that of shipping ; one vessel after another may founder, with all hands^ 
and not the least enquiry is made into the cause of their loss ! The 
proprietor of a colliery has, moreover, a direct interest in maintaining 
his property in the highest state of efficiency, for he has no Insurance 
Company to fall back upon to recoup him the damages which he may 
have sustained, whereas the same thing cannot always be said of the 
shipowner. It has been urged that the adoption of such a regulation 
by Government would relieve the responsibility of a shipowner. I 
know of no case where a shipowner has been held responsible for send' 
ing his ship to sea in an unseaworthy condition. It is furtlwr stated 
that it would entail the employment by Government of an army of 
surveyors. I am not of that opinion ; an addition, it is true, but not a 
very considerable one, would suffice for the task. All the unclassed 
ships iu the country, and it is with those only we propose to deal, are 
not to be found in port at one time. All passenger-carrying ships are 
at present periodically subject to an examinaticai by a Board of Trade 
surveyor, and it is this same principle we propose shoidd be extended 
to those vessels which are not classed at Lloyd's. I am not ignorant 
that many of our unclassed ships are classed with the French Veritas, 
but I feel that our Government would not be justified in recognising 
the classification of any foreign body. There are some shipowners 
who own first-class vessels who object to class their ships at Lloyd's, 
but their number is inconsiderable, and I feel quite sure that any such 
regulation as here proposed would by no means incommode them. . 
My own firm are managing owners of several large unclassed ships, 
I am not, therefore, wishing to impose upon others an inspection from 
which I myself would be exempt. As a general rule, however, there 
is a reason, and sometimes a very cogent one, why owners object to- 
have their vessels surveyed. For aldiough a classification, however 
low the character might be that would be assigned by Lloyd's, would, 
in the most of cases, enhance the market value of such shipping, yet it 
is not to be doubted there are ships to which, in their present condi- 
tion, not even the lowest class could be assigned. It is sometimes said 
that the question is an underwriter's question. It is so, to a limited 
extent only. We have ships engaged in our coasting trade, and, to 
some extent, in our oversea trade, which are not insured at all, and 
some whi(^h would not be insured by any respectable company but at 
such a premium, as would be totally prohibitory. The calls made by 
some of the north-country clubs covering such risks have reached the 
enormous premium of 2^ to 2,0 per cent., and the clubs have almost all 
collapsed in consequence. The cause which has led to the collapsing 
of these clubs, is of itself sufficient to show the necessity there exists 
for interference on the part of Grovemment, to step in and check an evil 
which involves the lives of our fellow men. I have referred to the 
absence of all data to estimate the extent of the evil, by reason of there 
seldom or never being any official enquiry into the loss of vessels of 
this character which have foundered at sea. I must, from my own 
personal experience, state, as director of one of our insurance offices, 
the case of a ship where the master and some of the ciew left^and 
others were appointed, and when they started upon their voyage the 
vessel was so leaky that before she got out of the river she had to put 
back, and the cargo had to be discharged. The coals were sold, but 
the proceeds scarcely exceeded the expense incurred. A claim was 
made against our company for a total loss of the cargo, and, to prevent 



100 OUR SEAMEN. 

a costly lawsuit, we had to compromise the claim. If the vessel had 
proceeded to sea she might have foundered with all on board, and no 
official enc^uiiy would ever have been instituted into her condition pre- 
vious to sailing. I might refer to the case of a vessel lost on the east 
coast, which we were fortunately, from circumstances which afterwards 
came to our knowledge, able to show had been i,from the outset unsea- 
worthy ; but, in defending the action brought against us by the owner ^ 
the law expenses exceeded three times the amount insured in our office* 
If this vessel had foundered with all hands, we should have known 
nothing of the circumstances which afterwards came to our knowledge. 
I might also refer you to several other cases of vessels foundering, im- 
mediately after leaving port, from preventible causes. I might further 
refer you to the case of a ship that went ashore on the coast of Holland^ 
that broke up so rapidly as to call forth the following remarks in a 

foreign journal : — " The barque , laden with coals, wcu lost to 

the east of the harbour. The crew, consisting of seven men, were 
brought on shore. Two hours after the vessel struck there was 
nothing left of her but fragments. There were then seven lives which 
mosi probably would have been sacrificed had it taken more than two 
hours to have got them off. In order that a vessel should go to pieces 
in so short a time on a shore like ours, she must be in a most unsea^ 
worthy staie, and we cannot understand how the English Government^ 
so careful of the lives of its subjects, should allow certain shipowners^ 
from, mere motives of avarice, to send vessels to sea with almost a cer» 
tainty of their being lost. We earnestly wish, for the sake of the 
brave English crews of the colliers, that their Government would do 
something for their security, by naming a special Commission to inspect 
their vessels.^* How frequently would those pertinent remarks apply 
to similar instances occurring upon our own shores, and where the 
lives are lost, instead of happily saved, as in this instance. Speaking 
as an tmderwriter, we are sometimes called upon to insure the cargo for 
a customer, who has no interest in the body of the ship, and although 
we have gone on increasing the premium until it is doubled, we have, 
from the frequent losses, in some trades, lately resolved to decline such, 
risks altogether. Many of our coasting vessels, to my own knowledge^ 
have to pump while in harbour, pump while at sea, and when over" 
taken by a heavy gale of wind, too frequently perish with all on board* 
I have been for many years engaged in loading ships in the coasting 
trade, and many are the fa^es of those captains, whose vessels J have 
loaded, who have gone to sea never to return again to port. Strange as 
it may appear, men who are accustomed to trade between two ports 
will, for the advantage of being frequently at their homes, incur the 
risk of navigating such ships.* In France, no vessel considered unsea- 
^worthy by the authorities is allowed to leave port. The question is 
essentially a Government question ; for I take it to be the fint duty of 
Government to protect the lives of its subjects, and I observe that in 
introducing the BDl, Mr. Shaw Lefevre proposed an amendment, that 
it should be a misdemeanour to send a ship to sea in an unseaworthy 
state. Surely it would be far better to provide against such a loss by 
proper inspection before sailing, rather than to wait until the calamity 



* Thus the best feelings of the poor men, the feelings which do 
them most honour, are made the lures to their own destruction. — S. P. 



SPEECH OF MR. y. HALL. loi 

has occurred, and then to punish the shipowner. Moreover, the diffi- 
culty of proving a ship that was lost to have been unseaworthy, would 
practically make the clause of non-eifect. I trust I have said sufficient 
to induce the Chamber to adopt the resolution under consideration. 

(Carried unanimously.) 

** That, in consequence of the frequent losses of sailing and 
steam ships from the practice of overloading, the -^soci- 
ated Chambers are of opinion that the attention of the 
Government should be drawn to this subject, and that it 
should be invited to take into consideration whether the 
Bill should not contain provisions for determining the 
maximum load-line of sailing and steam ships." 

Mr. James Hall said — The resolution which has just been read is 
one the importance of which cannot be overestimated. However 
great may be the evil of sending unseaworthy ships to sea, that of 
sending large and valuable steamers to sea overloaded, and conse- 
quently unseaworthy, involve consequences of the greatest magnitude. 
It is not too much to say that to this growing and increasing evilf 
hundreds — it may be thousands— of valuable lives, and hundreds of 
thousands of pounds of valuable property are annually sacrificed^ 
Again, I should like to have been able to put before you some data as 
to the extent of the evil, but in the absence of all enquiry into steamers 
lost at sea, save in the case of passenger ships, or some exceptional 
case, we are without data to form an estimate. / do not, however, 
hesitate to say that, were an official appointed for a short time at some 
of our principal ports ^ to note the cotuiition in which ships are sent on 
their voyage, a state of things would be revealed little creditable to us 
cus a nation, I feel quite sure that the question is one which must 
sooner or later force itself upon the attention of the Government, The 
resolution which I submit for the adoption of this body does not 
involve this meeting in defining or determining any arbitrary line for 
summer or winter. It may not be out of place if I call your attention 
to the report which lies upon your table, adopted by the Chamber 
which I represent, and in which will be found the opinions upon this 
subject of shipbuilders, some of whom are the largest and most prac- 
tical in England, of practical ship surveyors, and experienced nautical 
men. You will there notice that no vessel can be deemed seaworthy 
that is sent to sea with less than two to three inches, counting from top 
of deck plank to water line, for every foot of depth of hold in the case 
of non-spar-decked ships ; that is, for example, a ship with a depth of 
hold of eighteen feet, according to some authorities, should have a side 
or free board of three feet ; according to some, three feet nine inches ; 
and according to others, four and a half feet ; and in the ccLse of spar* 
decked ships, no ship should be immersed above one to two feet, accord* 
ing to the views of the writers, below the main deck line. Yet it is not 
too much to say that these rules are daily violated. We hcpve instances 
of vessels sent to sea almost flush midships with the water's edge, and 
in the case of spar-decked ships submerged above the main deck, instead 
of having a side or free board of from one to two feet or more below 
the main deck, A friend of mme went, a few months ago, on 
board of a ship while she was loading, and asked the mate if he 
intended to sink her. The mate observed he did not intend to 



loa OUR SEAMEN, 

sail in her. The ship proceeded next morning, and the only vestige 
heard of her since has been a smcUl part of her outfit cast up in the 
channel^ indicating the sad end of ship and crew, I may refer to the 
case of another steamier, whose condition, as she proceeded to sea, was 
such as to be the theme of conversation amongst all nautical men. She 
foundered, with the loss of aU hands, almost, it is supposed, im- 
mediately after leaving harbour. A few days ago I found that a 
steamer I had chartered had loaded more than was expected. The 
captain was a^ed the reason, when he replied that the loading had 
been attended to by his owner, but he hpuself wished so much cargo had 
not been put on board. One who saw the vessel subsequently reported 
to me that she had very little side or free board. On the Friday the 
vessel left the Tyne, and on the Sunday night following a loss off the 
Norfolk coast was reported, and a boat washed up bearing the name of 
this very ship.* There is only too much reason to fear that she had 
been lost, with all hands. I might refer to the cases of spar-decked 
ships so deeply laden as to have their main deck under water, and 
foundering after leaiving port. In the case of passenger ships the 
Government determine the number of passenger^ they may carry, but 
do not detennine, what is of much more importance, the draught of 
water the same vessel should draw ; and passenger-carrying ships may, 
in this the month of February, be seen leaving our ports with the arch 
board on the stem of the ships upon which the ship's name and port 
are generally painted, on a line with the water's edge. T?te wonder is, 
not that so many ships are lost^ but that the number is so few. In the 
case of the Ivanhoe, it was alleged that some of the crew would not 
proceed, and others were shipped, and within twenty-four hours after 
sailings it is supposed, she foundered, with all hands. The Town 
Council of Leith, if I mistake not, on that occasion passed such a reso- 
lution as the one I now submit for your adoption. We are told that it 
is impossible to fix such line, and that it cannot be done. Practical 
men who have thought over the matter think otherwise. Lloyd's, as 
you are aware, are supposed to have a standing rule that every ship 
should have a side or free board of 5 inches to the foot of depth of 
hold. This, however, does not apply to spar-decked ships. And the 
rule of 3 inches to the foot is made compulsory by Government when 
Government stores are shipped by merchant vessels; and it might, 
therefore, almost be imagined that stores were deemed by Goverrwient 
more valuable than the lives of subjects. The Newcastle Chamber sug- 
gested that, in the event of the Legislature not seeing fit to fix a basis, 
3 line should be determined by the builder of the ship, the inspector, 
under whichever book she was built, and the Board of Trade surveyor ; 
their decision to be subject to the Board of Trade. It would, I think, 
be impossible to devise a more able and unbiassed tribunal to determine 
such line. In my opinion, a line marking the extreme limit of flotation 
compatible wkh safety should be fixed. It may be argued that such 
line would relieve tiie owner's responsibility, but my experience is, 
whether responsible or not, to my knowledge no shipowner has ever 
been called upon to account for any misdoing in this respect. It has 
been said that such a rule would shackle us in competing with the 
foreign shipowner. IF OUR SUCCESS HAS TO be PURCHASED BY 
SACRIFICING THE LIVES OF OUR SAILORS, THE FOREIGNER, FOR MY 

♦ She was lost with all lands. — S» P. 



DESIRE FOR CHANGE IN THE LAW. 103 

rpART, IS WELCOME TO THE TRADE ; * but in this case the foreigner 
is a myth. He does not exist. The steam-carrying trade of this country 
and Europe is at present, and likely to remain, in the hands of Britisn 
shipowners. Competition exists among ourselves, and a very sharp one 
it is becoming. It is said it is an underwriter's question. An under- 
writer meets increased risks by increased premiums, and the owner who 
•does not overload his vessel in the end has to pay for him who does. 
It has also been said that the question might be safdy left to those who 
iiavigate them. There will never be wanting volunteers to man a 
vessel, however deeply she may be laden — the Ivanhoe to wit. / 
^peak as a steam shipowner^ and say that the carrying out of the reso- 
lution under consideration would be deemed by many amongst us as no 
unjust interference, and as imposing no harsh restriction upon our 
property 1 1 Many of us feel that such a rule has become a necessity ; 
while to those who practise the evil, which it would to a certain extent 
remedy, it would be an effectual barrier. There is a reluctance 
•amongst most men to speak out upon this subject.^ But the Govern- 
ment themselves have admitted the necessity by suggesting, as an 
amendment measure, for taking the draught of water on sailing, but 
the same argument before used will apply ; it is prevention, preventing 
overloading before sailing, which is required, and not future punish' 
tnent, or furnishing means for underwriters to resist claims for loss. 
The draught of water a vessel draws can now at any time be procured 
at the office of the pilots. I hope you will adopt the resolution. 
Sooner or later it must be adopted by the Government, and, in the in- 
terest of hunuiniiyf the sooner that period arrives the better, ] 

But what says Liverpool ? Now, many would think, and 
think reasonably, that great weight ought to be attached to 
the opinion of Liverpool, as it is by far the largest port in 
the world. Well, I am more glad than I can say to be able 
to show you what Liverpool thinks not only on the subject 
^generally, but on the provisions of the Bill introduced by 
me last year. 

This is a cutting from the Shipping and Mercantile 
Gazette, under date June 7, 1870, and is the letter of a 

♦ Hear, hear I Bravo, James Hall ! — S. P. 

t There is little to be surprised at in this, as it is within my know- 
ledge that a most worthy and large-hearted man who did venture to 
speak freely of some instances of wrong-doing, was prosecuted for 
libel in the Criminal Court, and actually sent to gaol for some months ; 
and at whose suit, do you think ? Why, there may be two persons of 
the same name, of course, but the name of the prosecutor was the 
name of one of the men whose ships insurance brokers had to engage 
not to put goods into when they offered to insure produce or goods for 
shipment, the ships for which had not yet been chartered; thus, 

" Warranted not to be loaded into ships belonging to ■ .** 

— S. P. 



I04 OUR SEAMEN. 

gentleman well known in Liverpool, and thoroughly well 
acquainted with shipping business. 

[ LOAD-DRAUGHT OF MERCHANT SHIPS. 

To the Editor of the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette. 

Sir, — ^In my letters to you on this subject, I have stated that iron 
vessels of ordinary proportions show 30 per cent. " spare buoyancy " 
when their free-board is one-fourth of their depth of hold, and that, 
when the form of a vessel differs from these proportions, the divergence 
(so far as load-draught is concerned) is indicated by the difference 
which exists between the builder's tonnage and the registered tonnage. 
Further, I have suggested that this difference may be taken as a guide 
to the proportion by which the free-board of a shallow and fine, or of a 
deep, or of a full and deep, vessel should vary from the usual scales for 
load-draught ; and, by way of illustration, I have compared the free- 
board of several spar-decked vessels as modified in accordance widi 
this suggestion. I also called the attention of your readers to the fact, 
that the difference between 25 per cent, and 30 per cent, of " spare 
buoyancy '' is much more important than it at first sight appears ; as, 
for iron vessels of ordinary proportions as to breadth ana depth, it 
means a scale for free-board of 2^ inches, instead of three inches, for 
each foot depth of hold. 

Mr. Plimsoll, in his Bill " to provide for greater security of life at 
sea,'' fairly " takes the bull by the horns," so far as load-draught is 
concerned, by proposing a fixed load-line — that is, an arbitrary load- 
line — beyond which a vessel may not load. It is not pretended that a 
vessel may not load more deeply, and yet make a safe vo)rage under ordi- 
nary circumstances ; * but the Bill avoids the discussion of these circum- 
stances : it says, so far may a given vessel be loaded, but no further, 
except under penalty ; and m this respect all British Shipowners shall be 
placed on the same footing. Mr, PlimsolVs proposal has met with a 
large amount of support from the Owners of sailing vessels in this 
town. The Committee of the Liverpool Shipowners' Association have^ 
I understand^ unanimously supported this part of the Bill, as they 
consider tfiatf while the restrictions upon loading will not affect those 
who already load their ships reasonably, it will act as a decided check 
on the unscrupulous Owner or Charterer, and will tend, by the greater 
safety which will follow, to reduce the general rate of Marine Insurance. 
As high-class Shipowners are thus in favour of a fixed load-line, tiie 
Bill may possibly receive more support than was at first expected. It 
seems, however, unnecessary that the proposed mark amidships should 
be so long as four feet, or that any load-mark should be painted at the 
bow and stem. A mark amidships on each side of a vessel, of one 
foot in length, would be ample for the purpose intended, as, whatever 
the difference may be in a vessel's trim, the load-draught is always 
referred to in the midship immersion by taking a mean of the draugnt 
indicated at the bow and stem. The trim of a vessel may safely be 
lelt discretionary, as there can be no inducement adverse to the 
interests of the public, or to those of the crew of a vessel, to put her 

* Fair weather, I presume. — S. P. 



STRONG OPPOSITION. 105 

out of trim. The mark amidships will limit the weight the vessel is to 
carry, and there are usually other considerations, such as Pilotage 
Dues, which are paid on the maximum draught, and the depth of 
water on bars, dock sills, &c., which induce owners to keep their 
vessels as nearly as may be on an even keel. As the other parts of Mr. 
PlimsolPs Bill ao not relate to the subject of my present correspondence, 
I refrain here from making any comment upon them. 

Yours obediently, 

Liverpool, June 4, 1870. W. W. Rundell. ] 

As to the Other ports of the kingdom I can't speak, but 
am of opinion they would all welcome legislative interference 
with the practices complained of, as (and that I cannot too 
often repeat) these evil practices are only the practices of a 
small minority of bad men. 

You may say, " How is it, then, if there is no objection 
on the part of the ship-owners, that you have failed to carry 
your bill through Parliament ?" " What influence is it which 
stands in the way ? " 

In reply I add that in North and South, in East and in 
West, wherever my inquiries have taken me — I really cannot 
call to mind, nor do I believe that a case has arisen — where 
any one person has failed to render me, when asked, most 
ready assistance, or has failed to express the most decided 
opinions on the necessity of legislative interference, together 
with the most earnest wishes for my success ; and I have 
gone to any one likely to be able to give me the information 
I needed — ship-owners and ship-builders, underwriters and 
insurance brokers, dock-masters ahd captains of ships, Cus- 
tom House authorities and river police, not one single 
person has refused ready assistance and best wishes. 

But you must remember that these all have their own 
daily affairs to attend to, they cannot neglect these to give 
that earnest attention and time necessary to work a reform. 
And though they are many, and those who profit by these 
practices are few, there is this difference on the part of the 
latter — it is their business, that of the latter, to resist 
change ; they profit by things as they are ; they are deter- 
mined, energetic, and sleeplessly vigilant. 



io6 OUR SEAMEN. 

You must remember large fortunes are being made by 
th^n; they are the most energetic and pushing men in 
the trade, and it should not be matter of surprise if three of 
them had even got into Parliament. 

Now, I don't want to say a single word disrespectful to 
Parliament : it has been a matter of constant surprise to me, 
since I became acquainted with the amount of work a 
member has to do, that so many men of ample means should 
be willing to devote th6ir whole time in the best part of the 
year to gratuitous labour, all of them too (but two or three) 
men of high character and humane feeling ; but, nevertheless, 
owing to the fact that two or three of what they call in the 
North " the greatest sinners in the trade," having got into 
the House, it is there, and there only, that opposition to 
reform is to be expected, or is found. 

Without mentioning names perfectly well known in the 
sea-ports, I will give you an idea of what I mean. 

In the year 1870, when my bill was before the House the 
first time, the evening appointed for the second reading 
-arrived. I was standing in the lobby, when a member 
accosted me thus : — " Do you expect your bill will come on 
to-night ? ** 

" Yes, I hope so," I said. 

He said, " I am sorry for that, as I have a dinner engage- 
ment ; but I should not like to be absent.'* 

" I think you should not be absent," was my r^ly. 

"Why?" said he sharply. 

" Because," I said, " I may have to tell the House of a 
man, whose name you will hear in any coflfee-room or 
exchange in Yarmouth, Hull, Scarborough, Whitby, Picker- 
ing, Blythe, Shields, Newcastle, Sunderland, or in any port 
on the north-east coast, as one notorious for excessive and 
habitual overloading, and a reckless disregard for human 
life, who has lost seven ocean-going steamers, and drowned 
more than a hundred men, in less than two years,* and 

* No inquiry of course was held in any one of these cases. 



STRONG OPPOSITION. 107 

whose name I have myself seen as one of those whose ships 
insurance brokers at Lloyd's at length warrant the under- 
writers they will not ship goods in, before the underwriters 
will take a line upon them, and I may have to teU the 
House that that man is the member for ^'* 

I thought the man would have fainted. He answered 
never a word. 

Now he had put on the paper a notice to move an amend- 
ment to the second reading of my bill, viz., that it be read 
a second time that day six months. Every member knows 
that if such a purpose is abandoned, it is only necessary for 
the member who has given notice of the amendment to 
absent himself, or to sit still when his turn comes to speak 
— that is all. 

Some twenty minutes after this interview (and another I 
shall speak of soon), I was in my place in a state of strong 
excitement, because I had just made two powerful enemies. 
I felt utterly alone in my work, and so sick with excitement 
and fear, that I was compelling myself to think of the poor 
widows I had seen to keep up my courage, when a hand 
was put upon my shoulder. Much startled, I looked round, 
and there stood this man, with a face like that of a dead 
man, and this is what he said : — 

" Mr. PlimsoU, I have been to Mr. Palgrave and taken 
my notice off the paper.'* 

Why did he go to Mr. Palgrave ? Why did he trouble to 
tell me he had done so ? 

The bill came on too late that night for consideration, 
and was put forward ; and when, early next day, I looked 
at the fresh issue of the order book, and looked amongst 
notices relating to orders of the day, that notice of amend- 
ment was not there ! 

I may say here that tlie bill, tiiough frequently put down 
afterwards, never did come on that session, owing to the 
dreadful waste of the time of the House by incessant speech- 
making of members who cannot really speak but don't 
know it. 



lo8 OUR SEAMEN. 

Those who can't, and do know it, seldom address the 
House but when they feel it is their plain duty. 

After turning away from the member I have referred to, 
I encountered another, and told him that I thought he 
would do well to stay, because it was probable that I should 
refer to a case of a spar-decked ship being sent to Cronstadt 
in November with a cargo of iron, nearly twice as many 
tons as her register tonnage, with her main-deck between two 
and three feet under the water-line. He threatened me with 
an action for lible if I did ; but the voters of Derby had 
made me strong enough to defy him. He said I had no 
right to name a matter relating to a member without giving 
him notice. I reminded him that I was then giving him 
notice. He said he would not take it ; and finally, with a 
dark and deadly look, said, if I dared to allude to the case I 
must take the consequences. I was obliged to tell him that 
my duty was plain, and as to the consequences, I thought 
he was likely to take his share of them with me. 

You will see, therefore, that I had sufficient reason for 
the agitation I was in when the first member made the 
astonishing and unnecessary (!) announcement that he had 
been to Mr. Palgrave and had taken his notice off the 
paper. 

In 187 1, when I brought in my bill a second time, it was 
most anxiously debated by me with myself whether or no I 
should allude to these cases. Hoping to succeed without 
doing so, I did not allude to them in my opening speech, 
and of course was then precluded from doing so in my 
reply, and these two men actually took advantage of this 
omission to speak against the bill, and put up another 
member, who would, I am afraid, find it very embarrassing 
to answer some questions that might be put to him. 

These men, being all ship-owners, have of course great 
weight with the House, and I was obliged to withdraw my 
bill, taking as compensation only the bill subsequently 
brought in by the Board of Trade, which is worth nothing. 
It gives the seamen a right to ask for a survey, but they 



UNCLASSED SHIPS. 109 

must pay all the expense of it if the surveyors certify that 
the ship is not unseaworthy. 

Now, I do not want the inquiiy I hope to obtain to 
become a trail-hunt after individuals ; our object must be to 
amend a bad system, and to keep well in mind that but for 
our own neglect so sad a state of things could not have 
arisen. I have merely adverted to these cases to indicate 
the qnarter whence all the opposition we fear is to be ex- 
pected. I have been in great perplexity too as to whether 
or no I should name these cases or not, and have decided 
to do so only from the fear that if I did not, these persons 
would probably still speak deprecating any change, and, 
being ship-owners, the House would be in danger of suppos- 
ing they spoke the opinions of ship-owners, whereas this is 
not only not true, but the reverse is the fact, for the great 
body of ship-owners earnestly desire the legislation I 
advocate. 

I think I have shown abundantly that there is not a 
powerful opposition to be feared. It will be seen that the 
recommendation of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce 
is that unclassed ships shall be subject to compulsory sur- 
vey — mine is that all should, with a schedule of excep- 
tions ; the results would be precisely alike, except in this 
single particular — to make all subject, and then make 
exceptions when they can safely be made, is to affirm the 
principle of Government responsibility in the matter, which 
I think you will agree with me it is high time should be done. 

But I was to explain what is meant by the term unclassed. 
Nearly all ships when new are fit to take valuable merchan- 
dise, as silks, tea, provisions, cloth, cutlery, stationery, &c. 
(goods which sea-water if it reached them would greatly 
injure), on long voyages, because she is "tight," ue. not 
leaky, so she is classed A 1 by Lloyd's Committee. The 
letter refers to the ship, the numeral to the ship's equip- 
ment, as rigging, boats, cables, anchors, &c ; but they are 
also classed for terms which vary with the quality of the 
timber used in building them, and the quality of the work- 



no OUR SEAMEN, 

manship is also taken into account. Thus, speaking gene- 
rally (because other timber may have been used in some 
parts of the ship), if a ship be built mainly of hemlock, 
yellow pine, beech, or fir, she will probably be classed A 1 
for a term of four or five years ; if of elm or ash, five to 
six years; red pine or Cowdie Huon pine, six to seven 
years ; pitch pine or American white oak, seven to eight 
years ; oak (foreign), eight to nine years ; and if of English 
oak or teak (East Indian), nine to twelve years ; subject 
to what is called a half-time survey of a very strict and 
thorough character, i,e, if classed for eight years, at the 
end of four, and if classed for twelve years then at the 
end of six years. She may again at the request of the 
owner be examined for continuation, i,e. to be continued in 
this class for a further term, usually two-thirds of that origi- 
nally granted. She may again and again be re-examined 
for continuation, or if she have meantime gone into a lower 
class, be examined for restoration to the character A ; but 
each of these surveys is increased in thoroughness and 
stringency as the age of the ship increases. When fi-om age 
she ceases to be entitled to the character A in the opinion 
of Lloyd's surveyor, but is still tight enough and strong 
enough to carry valuable merchandise to any part of the 
world, she is classed A red, usually for an original term of 
half or two-thirds the original term granted her in the 
first character. She is still subject to half-time survey, and 
may be surveyed and re-surveyed for continuation in this 
class. When from increasing age she is no longer fit to carry 
valuable goods for long voyages, she falls into class black 
diphthong M ; while in this class she is deemed fit to carry 
the same class of goods, but only on short voyages (not 
beyond Europe). And when after survey and re-survey at 
intervals, as before, she is no longer fit to carry valuable 
goods at all, she falls into class E, and is deemed fit only to 
carry goods which sea-water won't hurt, as metallic ores, 
coal, coke, &c. (and then she usually travels round fi-om 
Liverpool to an eastern port), for long voyages, that is, 
anywhere, or is employed in the timber trade. After surve)r 



MUTUAL INSURANCE SOCIETIES. in 

and re-surveys at intervals as before, she is deemed unfit to 
go long voyages at all, and is only fit to carry materials not 
capable of injury by sea-water on short voyages — she is then 
classed 1 ; and when she has run through her terms here 
she is said to have run out her classes, to be in fact an "im- 
classed ship." The lettering is slightly varied for iron ships : 

tlius, ^, ^v, A- 

All this submitting to survey is entirely optional, and the 

owner or builder may build as he likes, or repair or leave 

unrepaired as he likes ; and when this is so, these ships are 

also called " undassed ships." 

Now, surely the merchants and ship-owners of New- 
castle are not without reason when they affirm that all un- 
dassed ships should be subjected to compulsory survey 
before they are allowed to go to sea with a fireight of precious 
human life. 

All the ships which are surveyed by Lloyd's are so sur- 
veyed to enable their owners to insure, and also to sell them 
if needed, on better terms than they otherwise could. 

How, then, do the owners of ships which have run through 
all their classes, or which have been built anyhow, insure at 
all? In this way. They mutually insure; they form 
clubs, and a member paying an uncertain rate is indem- 
nified by the others, upon all of whom at the end of the 
year a call is made, depending upon the amount of the 
year's losses; and well does Mr. Hall say that the state 
of these clubs ought alone to have called attention long 
ago to the nature of the ships insured, for they collapse 
one after another after struggling along a few years ; and, 
indeed, it almost seems as if there were a race who should 
lose his ships first on the formation of a new club, so 
great are the sums the members are called upon to pay 
as premium. In one afternoon alone in Newcastle once 
I picked up tiie names of nearly a dozen which had col- 
lapsed within a few years after paying tremendous calls. 
I call to mind the following now: — ^The Albion Mutual 
Insurance Club, which failed in 1864; the Britannia, in 
1865; the Shields Marine, in 1866; the Eligible, 1867 ; the 



112 OUR SEAMEN, 

British, 1868 ; the Friendly, 1868 ; and the Ocean, which 
failed in 1870. 

Some of these clubs failed after calling upon their mem- 
bers to pay 18 per cent., 20 per cent, and 25 per cent. ; 
and one of them failed after calling upon its members to pay 
1 8 per cent, in one year on the amounts for which they had 
entered their vessels, and in the next year no less than 30 
per cent., showing conclusively how utterly imseaworthy 
these vessels were — they had only three years of life in them 
on the average, and yet we allow such vessels to go to sea, 
taking fathers of families and others with them ! I am told 
also that 40 per cent has repeatedly been called by these 
mutual assurance clubs. 

I have now explained, I hope, what " unclassed " means, 
and given you some idea of the nature of unclassed ships, 
and now my task is nearly done. 

I have shown you that what Mr. O'Dowd, the counsel of 
the Boardof Trade, justly calls a "homicidal system," exists 
in our midst ; that it is vain to look to underwriters for a 
remedy ; that it is equally vain to expect it from the poor 
sailors themselves ; that the ship-owners as a class have done 
all they can \ and that, therefore, it is your duty, yours per- 
sonally, and mine, to endeavour to apply a remedy. 

I have also shown you that in extending to our fellow-men 
at sea the protection of the law we should not be setting a 
precedent, but should simply be following many precedents 
long established, only giving the sailors what we ashore have 
long enjoyed. 

I have shown you the extent of the evil, examined its 
sources, distinguishing those requiring skilled treatment from 
those you can pronounce upon. 

I have indicated to you the almost total change which will 
follow if we do our duty. 

I have shown you how utterly groundless are all the 
objections urged against doing our simple duty ; and, 
finally, that nearly all the ports are earnestly desirous of our 
assistance. 



BAD CASE OF UNSEAWORTHINESS, 113 

And now I'll tell you what I propose to do in the coming 
Session, and earnestly beg your assistance : — 

I shall bring in a Bill providing for the compulsory survey 
of all merchant ships (the Newcastle proposal and mine are 
aUke in effect, as you have seen), and providing also that no 
ship shall be allowed to proceed to sea overloaded, giving 
the ship-owner the choice of all existing scales, subject to 
approval by the Board of Trade. 

Whether there will be a third clause, dealing with over- 
insurance, will depend upon the advice of practical men in 
the meantime. The sum for which a ship may fairly be 
assured must be a fixed sum per ton register, and the 
amount will necessarily vary with the ship's class, her age, 
rig, and material. It will be a work of time and difficulty 
to arrange schedules dealing with this point. I shall seek 
the best practical aid available, and if the thing can be 
accomplished on going into it, in time — ^well ; if not, my Bill 
will only deal with overloading and rottenness, except this 
point, the master must be made to return the number of 
hands he has on board on proceeding to sea, — with a view 
to future legislation, if it is found necessary. 

I shall also move an address to the Crown, praying Her 
Majesty to issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the 
other sources of loss I have referred to, and into the general 
subject; but we must not allow even the issue of such a 
commission to delay legislation if we can help it on these 
two points, on which we are as able to pronounce as any 
commission, namely, — That ships unseaworthy by reason of 
want of repair shall not be allowed to go to sea unrepaired ; 
and that ships shall not be overloaded. 

With reference to the first point, I have this day heard 
(Dea 13, 1872) of a very bad case. The owners of a ship 
(I am not at liberty to mention her name or her owners) 
applied to Lloyd's to have her classed. She was surveyed, 
and reported to be in a bad condition, two or three material 
defects being obvious. Lloyd's Committee refused to give 
her any class in her then condition ; the owners pressed — 

I 



114 OUR SEAMEN. 

the matter was gone into again. The Committee referred 
again to the surveyor. He said in reply, " She is utterly 
unfit to go to sea, unless the defects (specified) are attended 
to." The owners refused to lay out any money; she was 
refused classification. She was loaded in London, smd went 
on her voyage to cross the Atlantic. Going down the 
Thames the crew became aware of her state, and at Deal 
refused to proceed on the voyage. They were landed and 
taken to prison, and subsequently sentenced, one and all, 
to a long term of imprisonment in the county gaol. Another 
crew was obtained somehow, and the ship went on her 
voyage, and while thcf one set of men were in gaol, ail the 
others went to the bottom of the sea, for she was never heard 
of again. I can give all particulars to a Royal Commission, 
as well as of several other cases, all of them just as bad. 

Now you who read these pages — somebody shall read 
them, if I have to give away the whole edition — will you 
help me to put these things right ? If you will, whether man 
or woman, write me just a line to ii i, Victoria Street, S.W., 
to say so, and I will then say how you best can do so. 
There is little reason, I fear, for thinking my correspondence 
will be too heavy for me, .for no one seems to care for the 
sailors ; but write, and I shall be able, I dare say, to say 
what is best to be done in your case. 

If our sailors were as bad as bad can be, if their labour 
was of no use to any of us, that would surely be no reason 
for permitting such a " homicidal system " (Mr. 0*Dowd) 
to continue ; but they are not bad, they are as brave and 
manly fellows as any class ashore, and they have wives and 
families to deplore and suffer for their loss. 

I would with all my heart and soul that I possessed the 
eloquence of Bright, the graphic power of MM. Erckmann- 
Chatrian, to use in their behalf, for then you would surely be 
moved to action ; but I have not, yet I may tell you why I 
feel so strongly on their behalf. If the lives of neiiiy a 
thousand of our ministers of religion, or of our lawyers, or 
of our doctors, or of our public men were sacrificed every 
year, to what a Government officer described as a " homi- 



WORKING MEN, 115 

-cidal system/* to pure and most culpable neglect, what 
would be said? All England would ring with indignation 
at the outrage ; yet I venture to say, and I say it conscien- 
tiously, believing it to be true, that any thousand of what is 
called the working classes are as worthy of respect and 
affection as any of these. If honesty, if strong aversion to 
idleness, if tenderness to wife and children, if generosity to 
one another in adversity, and if splendid courage are claims 
to respect, I am not sure that, taking them as a whole, you 
can find these moral qualities in equal degree in any other 
•class. 

I don't wish to disparage the rich, but I think it may be 
reasonably doubted whether these qualities are so fully 
•developed in them ; for, notwithstanding that not a few of 
them are not unacquainted with the claims, reasonable and 
unreasonable, of poor relations, these qualities are not in 
such constant exercise, and riches seem in so many cases to 
smother the manliness of their possessors, and their sym- 
pathies become not so much narrowed as, so to speak, 
stratified — ^they are reserved for the sufferings of their own 
class, and also the woes of those above them. They seldom 
tend downwards much, and they are far more likely to 
admire an act of high courage, like that of the engine-driver 
who saved his passengers lately firom an awful collision by 
•cool courage, than to admire the constantly exercised forti- 
tude and the tenderness which are the daily characteristics 
•of a British workman's life. 

You may doubt this. I once should have done so myself, 
but I have shared their lot ; I have lived with them. For 
months and months I lived in one of the model lodging- 
houses, established mainly by the efforts of Lord Shaftes- 
bury^ — there is one in Fetter Lane, another in Hatton 
Garden, and indeed they are scattered all over London. I 
went there simply because I could not afford a better 
lodging. I have had to make 7^. 9j^//. (3^". of which I 
paid for my lodging) last me a whole week, and did it. It 
is astonishing how little you can live on, when you divest 
yourself of all fancied needs. I had plenty of good wheat 



ii6 OUR SEAMEN, 

bread to eat all the week, and the half of a herring for a 
relish (less will do if you can't afiford half, for it is a splendid 
fish), and good coflfee to drink ; and I know how much, or 
rather how little, roast shoulder of mutton you can get for 
2d. for your Sunday's dinner. Don't suppose I went there 
firom choice — I went of stem necessity (and this was pro- 
motion too), and I went with strong shrinking, with a sense 
of suffering great humiliation, regarding my being there as 
a thing to be carefully kept secret from all my old friends. 
In a word, I considered it only less degrading than spunging 
upon friends, or borrowing what I saw no chance of ever 
being able to pay. 

Now what did I see there ? I found the workmen con- 
siderate for each other. I found that they would go out 
(those who were out of employment) day after day, and 
patiently trudge miles and miles seeking employment, 
returning night after night unsuccessful and dispirited ; 
only, however, to sally out the following morning with 
renewed determination. They would walk incredibly long 
distances, to places where they heard of a job of work ; and 
this not for a few days, but for many, many days. And I 
have seen such a man sit down wearily by the fire (we 
had a common room for sitting and cooking everything), 
with a hungry, despondent look — ^he had not tasted food all 
day — and accosted by another, scarcely less poor than him- 
self, with ** Here, mate, get this into thee," handing him at 
the same time a piece of bread and some cold meat, and 
afterwards some cofi'ee. And adding, "Better luck to- 
morrow ; keep up your pecker." And all this without any 
idea that they were practising the most splendid patience, 
fortitude, courage, and generosity I had ever seen. You 
would hear them talk of absent wife and children some- 
times — these in a distant workhouse (trade was very bad 
then) with expressions of affection, and the hope of seeing 
them again soon ; although the one was irreverently alluded 
to as " my old woihan," and the latter as " the kids." 

I very soon got rid of miserable self-pity there, and came 
to reflect that Dr. Livingstone would probably be thankful 



PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. 117 

for good wheat bread ; and, if the bed was of flock and 
hay, and the sheets of cotton, that better men than I in the 
Crimea (the war was going on then) would think themselves 
very lucky to have as good ; and then, too, I began to 
reflect, that when you come to think of it, that such as these 
men were, so were the vast majority of the working classes; 
that the idle and the drunken we see about publichouses 
are but a small minority of them, made to appear more 
because publichouses are all put in such places ; that the 
great bulk are at home — ^for the man who has to be at work 
at six in tiie morning can't stay up at night ; he is in bed 
early, and is as I found my fellow-inmates. Now just con- 
sider : do you not — unconsciously, it may well be — still, do 
you not sometimes, in thinking of working men, picture 
those, few though they be, you see late at night about 
publichouses; not exclusively, perhaps, but rattier more 
than of the ninety and nine who are at home with their 
families, recruiting their physical strength for the morrow's 
work ? Well, it was impossible to indulge self-pity in cir- 
cumstances like these, and, emulous of the genuine manhood 
all around me, I set to work again ; for what might not be 
done with youth and health? and simply by preparing 
myself rather more thoroughly for my business than had 
previously been considered necessary, I was soon strong 
enough to live more in accordance with my previous life, 
and am now able to speak a true word for the genuine men 
I left behind, simply because my dear parents had given me 
greater advantages than these men had had. But I did not 
leave all at once. I wanted to learn the lesson well ; and, 
though I went reluctantly, I remained voluntarily, because 
the kindly feelings I took with me had changed into hearty 
respect and admiration, and I was busy thinking, for some 
things I thought I knew before appeared in a new and 
different aspect — for instance, I knew that when the explo- 
sion took place at the Warren Vale Colliery, that as a 
member of the relief committee, formed in Sheffield, I had 
found that the claims upon the funds had not been limited 
to the wives and children of the poor men killed, but we 



Ii8 OUR SEAMEN, 

found that in several instances the men killed had supported! 
widowed mothers, and in others younger brothers and 
sisters, who had with themselves been deprived of fathers- 
by some preceding accident. And, again, at the Lund Hill 
explosion this was the case too — nearly one-third of the 
men killed, as the respective committees can testify, were 
thus supporting relations others than wife or child. 

Have you reflected what this is ? Rich men, even com- 
fortably-to-do men, do this, I don't doubt. But consider 
the diflference ; in one case it is simply signing a cheque, 
and mayhap leaving rather less behind him ; in the other,, 
it is perhaps having rather less to spend on what, after all, 
perhaps is foregone without any personal discomfort ; but 
in the case of the collier every shilling thus spared means 
more than an hour's hard work, lying nearly naked on his. 
side in a solitary benk or heading far away from the pit- 
bottom, with his life literally in the keeping of each one of 
all the many men working in the pit. 

I also thought a little more of the subscriptions of the 
men I had generally managed at the brewery where I was 
employed before I came to London to seek my fortune 
And the more I thought the more I wondered at the readi- 
ness with which men earning xds, per week, and a cottage, 
and having a wife, and, in some cases, five, and seven chil- 
dren, would spare \s, each to help a dead comrade's widow, 
or 6//. to help a fellow-workman to defray the extra expense 
of a funeral in his family. Fancy what a sum i j. is in such 
circumstances ! 

I thought, too, of the wonderful courage — more : of the- 
real and wonderful heroism of the working men in circum- 
stances of peril — deadly peril — ^at Edmund's Main Colliery 
explosion, when nearly two hundred men perished. After 
the first explosion, and a second was expected every mo- 
ment, there was some doubt whether ajl in the pit were 
killed. " Who volunteers to go down to search ? " is asked. 
Instantly, and without any knowledge apparently that the act 
was out of the common way, three times the number of men 
wanted stepped forward and went down. They never came- 



REFLECTIONS. 119 

Up again alive, poor fellows, for a second explosion came, 
and the brave and gallant men, though their faces and hands 
were black, vindicated their courage with their lives. 

Again, when the last explosion took place at the Oaks 
Colliery, and it was thought some might be living below, 
when my dear friend. Parkin Jeffcock, held up his hand, 
and said, " Well, lads, who goes down with me ? " — (thaf s 
the place of an English gentleman,) more than double the 
number he wanted quickly stepped out of the crowd. God 
help me, I fear I should not have the like courage in like 
circumstances, for a second explosion was so imminent that, 
having selected his men, the rest were ordered to fall back 
from the pit's mouth, lest they should be blown into the 
air. You know they never came up again. Poor fellows ! 
Poor Jeffcock ! it was a death worthy of envy almost as 
much as Cobden's life was. 

Who forgets Joe Rodgers, the plain seaman, who, with a 
tliin cord made fast to his body, sprang from the deck of 
the Royal Charter, on the chance that he might be dashed 
on the shore with life enough to establish the line which 
was stretched from ship to shore, and which saved nearly 
forty lives? or the sailor who, when the Sailors' Home, 
which the late Prince Albert assisted to build in Liverpcrol, 
was ablaze, and the ladders were all too short to reach the 
highest floor, where the sailors were shut up by the fire, took 
one ladder, with the bottom rung resting on the bend of his 
right arm, and, pushing it up before him, mounted to the top 
of another, and thus, at the extreme peril of his own life (for 
had the imprisoned sailors not come down one at once all 
would have been killed), saved the lives of five men ? 

Can we forget the common soldiers too, who, when the 
Birkenhead was lost, went down to death, shoulder to shoul- 
der, having to the last kept their ranks to form a pathway of 
safety to the women and children ? 

Remember the Sarah Sands, too. Death seems robbed 
of all its horror when it is accompanied by glories hke these. 
And now, tell me if I have not reason when I say that I 
absolutely glory in the working men, and aspire no higher 



120 OUR SEAMEN. 

than to merit equal respect with them. Yes, before I left 
my friends — for such we became at the model lodging-house 
— I had learned to feel as well as to know that — 

'< Honour and shame from no condition rise : 
Act well your part, there all the honour lies ; " 

and had also become more fully aware than I was before, 
how great and how glorious a thing it is to be bom an Eng- 
lishman. And yet these are the men we leave, shamefully 
leave, to perish by the dozen, by the score, without an effort 
to save them — allow them to perish from causes which could 
be remedied before the winter of 1873, and yet make no effort. 

Do you want to know more about the sort of men who 
thus are cut off in their full manhood ? Do you want to 
know how their loss is felt ? Come with me a few minutes, 
and I'll show you. The initials are all strictly correct, both 
those indicating names and also those giving addresses, and 

I can produce all the people. In this house. No. 9, L U 

Street, lives Mrs. A ^r R e. Look at her; she is not 

more than two- or three-and-twenty, and those two little ones 
are hers. She has a mangle, you see. It was subscribed 
for by her poor neighbours — the poor are very kind to each 
other. That poor little fellow has hurt his foot, and looks 
wonderingly at the tearful face of his young mother. She 
had a loving husband but very lately ; but the owner of the 

ship, the S «, on which he served, was a very needy 

man, who had insured her for nearly ;£^3,ooo more than she 
had cost him ; so, if she sank, he would gain all this. Well, 
one voyage she was loaded under t/ie owner^s personal super- 
intendence; she was loaded so deeply that the dock-master 
pointed her out to a friend as she left the dock, and said 
emphatically, " That ship will never reach her destination." 
She never did, but was lost with all hands, twenty men and 

boys. A R complained to her before he sailed, 

that the ship was ** so deep loaded." She tried to get to the 

sands to see the ship off with Mrs. S r, whose husband 

also was on board. They never saw their husbands again. 

In this most evil-smelling room E Q , C 



SAILORS' RELATIONS, I2i 

Street, you may see in the comer two poor women in one 
bed, stricken with fever (one died two days after I saw 
them), mother and daughter. The husband of the 
daughter, who maintained them both, had been lost at sea 

a little while before — a ship so loaded that when Mr. B 1, 

a Custom House officer, who had to go on board for some 
reason as she was lying in the river, on asking whereabouts 
the ship was, was told, " She's yonder ; you can easily find 

her ; she's nearly over t* head in water." Mr. B 1 told 

me, " I asked no questions, but stepped on board. This 
description was quite sufficient." 

Mrs. R s, 14, H n Place, told me her young 

brother was an orphan with herself. She and her sister had 
brought him up until she was married. Then her husband 
was kind to him, and apprenticed him to the sea. He had 
passed as second mate in a sailing ship ; but (he was a fine 
young fellow : I have his portrait) he was ambitious to 

" pass in steam " also ; engaged to serve in the S ship, 

leaking badly, but was assured on signing that she was to 
be repaired before loading. The ship was not repaired, and 
was loaded, as he told his sister-mother, "like a sand- 
barge." Was urged by 'his sister, and also her husband, 
not to go. His sister again urged him, as he passed her 
bedroom door in the morning, not to go. He promised he 
wouldn't, and went to the ship to get the wages due to him. 
Was refused payment unless he went ; was over-persuaded, 
and threatened, and called a coward, which greatly excited 
him. He went; and two days afterwards the ship went 

down. Her husband, Mr, R s, also told me that he 

and his wife " had a bit crack," and decided to do all tiiey 
could " to persuade Johnnie not to go." The young man 
was about twenty-two. 

Mr. J H 1 told me that the captain was his 

friend, and the captain was very " down-hearted about the 
way she was loaded" (mind, she was loaded under the 
owner's personal supervision). The captain asked him 

(Mr. A ) to see his wife off by train after the ship had 

sailed. She, poor soul ! had travelled to that port to see 



122 OUR SEAMEN, 

him off. Captain said to him, " I doubt I'll never see her 
more ! " and burst out crying. Poor fellow ! he never did 
see her more. 

Now come with me to 36, C Street, and see Mrs. 

J s R e. She is a young woman of superior intelli- 
gence, and has a trustable face — ^very. She may be about 
twenty-seven. She lost her husband in the same ship. He 
was Airty years of age, and, to use her own words, 
"such a happy creature, full of his jokes." He was- 
engaged as second engineer at £,^ los, and board. 
" After his ship was loaded * he was a changed man,* he 
* got his tea without sapng a word,' and then * sat looking^ 
into tfie fire in a deep study like.* I asked him what ailed 
him, and he said, more to himself than me, ' She is such a 
beast ! * I thought he meant the men's place was dirty, as 
he had complained before that there was nowhere for the 
men to wash. He liked to be clean, my husband, and 
always had a good wash when he came home from the 
workshop, when he worked ashore. So I said, * Will you 
let me come aboard to clean it for ye ?' and he said, stilT 
looking at the fire, * It isn't that.' Well, he hadn't signed, 
only agreed, so I said, * Don't sign, Jim ;' and he said he 
wouldn't, and went and told the engineer he shouldn't go^ 
The engineer 'spoke so kindly to him,' and offered him 
los. a month more. He'd had no work for a long time, 
and the money was tempting," she said, " so he signed. 
When he told me, I said, * Oh ! Jim, you won't go, will 
you?' He said, *Why, hinnie, hinnie, they'll put me in 
gaol if I don't.' I said, * Never mind, ye can come home 
after that' ' But,* said he, * they'll call me a coward, and 
ye wouldn't like to hear me called that' " 

The poor woman was crying very bitterly, so I said 
gently, "I hope you won't think I am asking all these 
questions from idle curiosity;" and I shall never forget her 
quick disclaimer, for she saw that I was troubled with her — 
" Oh no, sir, I am glad to answer you ; for so many homes, 
might be spared being made desolate if it was only looked 
into." 



SAILORS' RELATIONS, 125 

I ascertained that she is now " getting a bit winning for a 
livelihood," as my informant phrased it (of course I was 
not so rude as to ask her that), by sewing for a ready-made 
clothes shopkeeper. She was in a small garret, with a 
sloping roof, and the most modest fireplace I ever saw — just 
three bits of iron laid from side to side of an opening in 
the brickwork, and two more up the front ; no chimney-^ 
piece, or jambs, or stone across the top, but just the bricks 
laid nearer and nearer until the courses united. So I don't 
fancy she could be earning much. But with the very least 
money value in the place, it was as beautifully clean as I 
ever saw a room in my life. 

I saw also Mrs. W ^ks, of 78, B d Street, who had 

lost her son, Henry W ks, aged twenty-two. She too 

cried bitterly as she spoke with such love and pride of her 
son, and of tiie grief of his father, who was sixty years of 
age. Her son was taken on as stoker, and worked in the 
ship some days before she was ready for sea. He didn't 
want to go then, when he saw how she was loaded j but 
they refused to pay him the money he had earned unless he 
went ; and he too was lost with all the others. 

Just one more specimen of the good, true, and brave 
men we sacrifice by our most cruel and manslaughtering. 
neglect, and then I will go on to the next part of myf subject. 

This time I went to 17, D h Street, and called upon 

old J n P ^r, and after apologising for intruding upon 

his grief, I asked him if he had any objection to telling me 
whether his son had had any misgivings about the ship- 
before he went. He said, " Yes. I went to see the ship 
myself, and I was horrified to see the way she was loaded. 
She looked like a floating wreck -, and I tried all I could to 
persuade him not to go ; but he'd been doing nothing for a 
long time, and he didn't like being a burthen on me. 
* He'd a fine ' sperrit,' sir, had my son," said the poor old 
man. 

Here a young woman I had not observed (she was in a 
comer, with her face to the wall) broke out into loud sobs, 
and said, *' He was the best of us all, sir — the best in the 



124 OUR SEAMEN. 

whole family. He was as fair as a flower, and vah-y canny- 
looking." 

Oh 1 my God ! my God ! what can I say, what can I 
write, to make the people take thought on this terrible wrong ? 

I tell you, you who read these lines, if you are a man, 
you deserve to perish suddenly, lacking sympathy and 
succour in your hour of utmost need, and leaving your 
nearest and dearest only the cold charity of the world to 
depend upon — ^for this is how sailors die — if you don't help. 
If you are a wife, you deserve that your husband should be 
taken from you without warning, and that to the anguish of 
bereavement should be added the material miseries of 
hunger and destitution — for this is how sailors* wives suffer 
— if you do not help. If you are a father, descending it 
may be into the vale of years, with sons strong and brave, 
the pride and support of your age, you deserve that they 
should suddenly perish with no hand to help them, leaving 
your remaining years uncheered by one filial greeting — ^for 
so the fathers of sailors are bereaved — if you do not help. 
If you are a mother, you deserve that your son should be 
taken firom you in the pride of his young manhood, if you 
don't help to stop this homicidal, this manslaughtering, this 
widow-and-orphan manufactiuing s)rstem. 

Fellow Christians, have you nothing to say to this ? Do 
you think that there are no religious sailors — no followers of 
our common Lord and Saviour amongst them? Oh, but 
you are greatly mistaken. There is more true religion 
amongst miners and sailors than you are aware. 

Don't you recollect the miner at the Hartley accident who 
slid down the guide-rods, knowing he could not get up again 
for days it might be, that he might pray with and for his 
companions who were below the broken engine-beam, and 
who could never more see the light ? 

Do you forget the loving husband who in that horrible 
pit, face to face with death, scratched with his knife on a 
breakfast can a message of love to his wife Sarah ? 

I have been aboard a ship when the sailors were holding 
a service in the forecastle, a single lamp swinging from the 



WHAT SAILORS ARE. 125 

deck beam, and wild rough weather without, making you 
hold on to a pillar to stand, and this was the order of it. 
They commenced by singing Toplady's beautiful hymn, 
which solaced poor Prince Albert when he lay on his all- 
too-early death-bed — 

" Rock of ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee ; 
Let the water and the blood 
From thy wounded side which flowed. 
Be of sin the double cure, 
Save from wrath and make me pure/* 

Then followed the reading of a chapter and prayer. Then 
this hymn — 

" Abide with me, fast falls the eventide. 
The darkness thickens ; Lord, with me abide, 
When other helpers fail and comforts flee. 
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me." 

Then the big, bluff captain, with the Union Jack for cover, 
and a hogshead on end for a reading-desk, gave a short, 
earnest sermon from — " Behold, I stand at the door, and 
knock : if any man hear my voice, and open unto me, I 
will come in to him and make my abode with him ;" and 
then they concluded with the hymn — 

** One there is, above all others. 
Well deserves the name of friend," 

and I well remember their singing the verse — 

** Which of all our friends, to save us, 
Could or would have shed his blood ? " 

and wondering how it was that these brave men were so 
entirely friendless — how it was that they alone of British 
subjects should have been abandoned to the tender mercies 
of unchecked irresponsibility — of competition run mad. 

Have you no word to say when you are shown, on evidence 
you cannot doubt, that your fellow Christians are sent down 
to death, and their wives made widows, their children father- 
less, when you could prevent it by the simple expression of 
your will ? Oh ! shame, shame 1 how will you answer to 
the Master for it, when you and they stand at length before 
Him? 



126 OUR SEAMEN. 

Fellow Loyalists, — You who are thankful for the inesti- 
mable blessings of a settled Government, and who. are unwil- 
ling that this glorious England of ours should incur the 
tremendous loss of dignity which would ensue from having 
the highest person in the nation subjected to ail the abuse 
which malignity and falsehood can allege or invent, every 
four years, and who are, besides being loyal, deeply attached 
to our good Queen : I call upon you to help, for I feel abso- 
lutely sure she would, if she should ever hear how the matter 
stands. You cannot forget how she telegraphed, day after 
day, while there was any hope of rescuing the poor men who 
were interred alive in the Hartley Colliery. 

Working men, is it nothing to you that your fellow-work- 
men, fathers of families, men to whom life is as dear as it is 
to yourselves, men who have committed no fault, should 
thus shamefully be neglected ? — should thus be drowned by 
the dozen and the score to make a few bad men richer ? — 
and that their needless deaths should not elicit an inquiry 
into the cause of it ? I hate to appeal to class feelings or 
prejudices, but class jealousy can only be allayed by justice, 
•not by ignoring murderous wrong ; and I ask, seriously and 
sadly, can any one doubt, but that if these brave men had 
been pigs or sheep, the Legislature had long since been 
compelled by powerful advocates to stop such losses ? Pigs 
and sheep are property, and property is well represented in 
Parliament ; but these — ^why, they are only our poor brothers, 
and no one speaks for them. 

I do not wish to represent Parliament as indiflferent to 
the interests of working men. On the contrary, it is 
impossible to contemplate the fiscal legislation of the past 
twenty years without gratefully acknowledging on their 
behalf its unselfish, nay, more, its self-denying character; 
but, when no pressing demand is made for the remedy of 
social wrong, its removal is- postponed to thosematters which 
are pressed. Parliament will act readily enough if people out 
of doors make it a prominent question; and, so thoroughly am 
I satisfied on this point, that I begin to doubt whether I was 
right in trying to get into Parliament with the object of 



CONCLUSION, 127 

getting this done. It seems to me at least doubtful whether 
I should not have done better to have endeavoured to rouse 
people out of doors to the urgency of the matter. At 
any rate, on this I have decided, that if, during the coming 
Session, I again fail to obtain at least a Royal Commis- 
sion to inquire into the subject, I will restore to my con- 
stituents the high trust they confided to me, and will then, 
as God may help me, and with such fellow-workers as I may 
find, go from town to town, and tell the story of the sailors* 
wrongs. For, if the working men of Sheffield, Leeds, 
Birmingham, and Manchester only demand justice for these 
poor men, the thing is done. The working men of Derby 
have done their part, for when, moved by the sailors' wrongs, 
I asked them to send me to Parliament to seek for justice, 
they sent me by over 2,000 majority. 

Gentlemen of the Press, — ^Your great power and influence 
have always been exercised on behalf of tlie oppressed. 
Nor has their inability to even thank you stayed the gene- 
rous exercise of your power, else one might despair of these 
men, for they are politically perfectly helpless; they can 
neither threaten a ministry nor offer a contingent to the 
opposition ; they are not even your supporters as readers, 
for, divided into small groups of a dozen or a score, they 
spend their lives for the most part far away at sea, and 
know not, even if tiiey were able to invoke it, how great is 
the help you can give them. This will not render you less 
willing to help them, their case understood, and I have 
diligently done my poor best to gather for you the materials 
for forming a judgment on it 

Help them then, I pray you, and you too shall be helped 
by the recollection of your brotherly aid when that hour 
comes when you will need the help of Him that sticketh 
closer than a brother. Consider how not only are the 
sailors' lives sacrificed, not only are many, very many of 
their wives made widows, but what a clouded life all their 
wives lead from well-grounded and constant apprehension, 
which, deeply depressing at all times, knows no other 
variation than the quick agony into which those appre- 



128 OUR SEAMEN. 

hensions are aroused whenever the wind rises even to a 
moderate gale. 

Whoever you are who read this, help the poor sailors, for 
the love of God. If you are a man of influence, call a 
meeting and confer on this Appeal ; if you are not, and will 
write to me, I will try to show you how to help. 

If you refuse — ^but this I cannot think — but if you refuse 
or neglect to use your influence, before another year has 
nm its course at least five hundred — five hundred men ! — 
now in life, will strew the bottom of. the sea with their dead, 
unburied, unresting bodies, and desolation and woe will 
have entered many and many a now happy home ; but if 
you do render your help, we can secure such life-preserving 
activity in precautionary measures that the sailor will have 
no fear ; and then the storms of winter may come, but with 
good tight ships under them, and sound gear to their hands, 
their own strong arms and stout hearts can do the rest, and 
as, after a night of storm and tempest, which but for your 
fraternal care would have overwhelmed them in death and 
sent bereavement and anguish into their humble homes, 
they reach their desired haven, weary and worn it may be, 
but still safe — chilled to the marrow, but still alive — the 
blessings of those who are ready to perish shall be yours : 
nor shall there be lacking to you those richer blessings 
promised by the Great Father of us all, to those who visit the 
widow and fatherless, for that to the high and the noble and 
the sacred duty of visiting them in their affliction, you have 
preferred the higher, the nobler, and the yet more sacred 
duty of saving women and children from so sad a fate. 

SAMUEL PLIMSOLL. 

Ill, Victoria Street, London, S.W. 
March i 1873. 

THE END. 



PRINTKD BY VIRTUB AND CO., CITY ILOAD, LONDON. 



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